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Newsom Lays Out Lofty Health Goals in State of the State

Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling on the Legislature to protect California from federal attacks on the Affordable Care Act. (jdlasica/Flickr)
Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling on the Legislature to protect California from federal attacks on the Affordable Care Act. (jdlasica/Flickr)
February 13, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Groups that promote greater access to health care cheered Tuesday as Gov. Gavin Newsom made the issue a central part of his State of the State address. The governor criticized what he called the Trump administration's "vandalism" of the Affordable Care Act.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit Health Access, said he agrees that the state needs to step in where the federal government has retreated.

"We need to provide greater affordability assistance, reinstitute the Affordable Care Act individual requirements, put in place greater cost-control effort to help deal with the cost of health care in California," he said.

Medi-Cal already serves low-income, undocumented children, but Newsom emphasized his support for extending health coverage to qualifying undocumented people ages 18 to 26. Wright said he'd go even further, with an extension to all low-income Californians regardless of age or immigration status. Opponents have said such a system would bust the state budget.

Wright also agreed with Newsom in the view that overall health-care costs need to drop, and supports policies designed to leverage billions in state contracts to lower drug costs.

"We are very supportive of Gov. Newsom's effort to pool the prescription drug-purchasing power of the state to get real savings," he said.

Wright also praised the governor's focus on the effects of consolidation in the health-care arena, which he said have led to higher costs and limited patient choice.

The text of AB 4 Medi-Cal for All is online at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA