PAC NEWS FLASH : Governor Signs 2013-14 Budget

June 28, 2013

Released Thursday, June 27

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In a ceremony that took place at the Capitol earlier today, the Governor signed a balanced state budget that reflects major improvements in the state’s finances following years of multi-billion dollar deficits.

 With the passage of Proposition 30, the state is reinvesting in, rather than cutting, education funding. State spending on schools will grow about $1 billion over two years to $55.3 billion for the 2013-14 fiscal year. At the same time, education deferrals will be reduced to $4.9 billion, which represents half of what the deferrals were at the peak level. The budget proposal also includes the Local Control Funding Formula which changes the basis for how education funds will be allocated to schools.

 Due to concerns that the Local Control Funding Formula would not provide enough funding to help school districts mitigate prior year cuts, CSEA worked hard to ensure that the budget included enough funding to help restore prior year cuts and allow districts to restore programs and rebuild budgets over time.

 CSEA also lobbied hard to insure that School Transportation funds were not made flexible, that common core funding specifically include language providing that paraeducators are eligible for staff development training and that Adult Education programs were fully funded and not transferred to community colleges. CSEA was successful in ensuring that the final budget addressed all of these concerns.

 The Governor also signed ABX 1 1 (Perez) and SBX 1 1 (Hernandez-Steinberg), which are identical bills that implement a major component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These important bills would expand coverage of the state’s Medi-Cal program to adults, up to age 65, earning up to $15,856 (based on 2013 federal poverty level). This expansion could provide health care coverage to over a million more people who are currently ineligible. With the passage of these bills, having a qualifying child will no longer be required for coverage in Medi-Cal.

 The Governor did use his line item veto authority to trim the final budget. While most of the components of the education budget remained intact, the Governor made the following reductions specifically related to special education and child care programs:

Special Education – Eliminates $30 million which was proposed to begin the process of equalizing state special education funding among Special Education Local Program Areas (SELPAs). In his veto message, the Governor indicated that at full implementation this proposal would cost over $300 million and would reduce available resources to pay off deferrals and to implement the Local Control Funding Formula.

State Preschool Program Funding– Reduces the level of funding increase for State Preschool Programs from $30 million to $25 million, a $5 million decrease.

If you wish to comment or would like additional information, please contact: Dave Low, Director, Governmental Relations; Jai Sookprasert, Assistant Director, Governmental Relations; Dolores Duran-Flores, Legislative Advocate; Steve Henderson, Legislative Advocate; Joshua Golka, Legislative Advocate, 1127 11th Street, Suite. 346, Sacramento, California  95814.  Toll Free: (800) 867-2026.


Covered CA and the ACA: The Road So Far

June 27, 2013

Resources of information include, but are not limited to, the following:

CSEA
www.csea.com/healthcare

HealthCare.gov

www.healthcare.gov/

U.S. Department of of Health & Human Services

www.hhs.gov/news/

Kaiser Family Foundation

http://kff.org/

the White House

http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/health-care/

The Affordable Care Act Three Years Post-Enactment

Three years ago, on March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. Although the date for full implementation of most provisions of the law is January 1, 2014, the ACA has already had an impact on the goals of expanded coverage of the uninsured, improved access and better care delivery models, broader access to community-based long-term care, and more integrated care and financing for beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Although the ACA remains controversial, with many debates about its future as well as provisions already implemented, implementation is proceeding.

More portions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) kick in this year as the law aims to increase access to affordable healthcare. Different parts of federal healthcare reform were scheduled to go into effect gradually. Several requirements took effect over the last two years and more changes will come this year and next. Anyone who is not covered by MediCal but meets income guidelines will have to buy health insurance through Covered CA in order to receive government subsidies for premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

The ACA  is making health care work better for all of us, even if you already have insurance. It puts the health of your family first—ensuring access to free preventive care and protecting consumers from insurance company abuses.

The ACA already:

  • Bars insurance companies from denying coverage to children who have pre-existing conditions.
  • Prohibits insurance companies from dropping your coverage because you get sick.
  • Enables uninsured people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage through a high-risk pool.
  • Eliminates lifetime coverage limits and restricts annual limits.
  • Allows you to keep your children on your plan until they turn 26.
  • Starts closing the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” with a $250 rebate for people who fall into the hole, and a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the donut hole.
  • Provides grants to states for consumer assistance programs.
  • Begins payment reforms and incentives to encourage doctors and hospitals to provide more efficient and higher-quality care and reduce preventable hospital readmissions.

 

Much remains to be put in place leading up to 2014. This flyer ( click here ) summarizes ACA-related activities to date in terms of tangible benefits and policy changes on the ground with respect to private insurance and Exchanges, Medicaid coverage, access to primary care, preventive care, Medicare, and Medicare and Medicaid dual eligible beneficiaries.


About Covered California

June 26, 2013

From Covered California:

Millions of Californians will be able to choose affordable, high-quality health insurance coverage offered through Covered California™ that will take effect January 2014. Covered California is a new, easy-to-use marketplace where you and your family may get financial assistance to make coverage more affordable and where you will be able to compare and choose health coverage that best fits your needs and budget. By law, your coverage can’t be dropped or denied even if you have a pre-existing medical condition or get sick.

You may have thought you couldn’t afford health insurance, but Covered California will provide the tools for you to shop for health insurance that meets your health care needs and financial realities. The federal law called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides a number of ways for individuals and employers to help make coverage more affordable. For individuals, financial assistance is available on a sliding scale, with more support for those who earn less. Covered California will help you determine if you qualify for these types of assistance programs.

Covered California is a part of the State of California and was created to help you and your family get health coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones. Having insurance is an important way to stay healthy and to pay for health care if you get sick or injured. Health insurance can not only assure your access to care to keep your body healthy, it also protects your peace of mind – you can rest assured that you will have help when you need it most.

Did You Know?

In 2010, California was the first state in the nation to enact legislation to implement the provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act by creating a health care marketplace – Covered California.


Repost: Covered California Unveils New Website

June 25, 2013

Let us begin with a review.

CSEA continues to be an advocate at the local, state and federal levels to ensure that its members get the best healthcare possible without sacrificing pay or other benefits.

Original Posting: February 13, 2013

 

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Today, The California Health Benefit Exchange, which was recently renamed Covered California, launched its new website. This website is designed to be consumer friendly and is being launched now so that people can become familiar with the website before actual enrollment begins. Pre-enrollment starts in October 2013 and health benefits become available in January 2014.

Covered California is the health care market place where people who are uninsured or those who are spending more than 9.5 percent of their household income on health care premiums for individual coverage, can purchase health care for themselves and their families. It is the only place where federal subsidies will be available to help pay premiums costs. California is the first state in the nation to create a health care marketplace as provided for in the national Affordable Care Act.

The new website can be found at www.CoveredCA.com and it will give you basic information about Covered California. It includes fact sheets, questions and answers and has a useful calculator. You can enter your information and the calculator can estimate how much you would pay and what the federal subsidies would be if you qualify. It will also estimate if you are eligible for Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal is a public health program that is available at low cost and no cost depending on your income. It is important to remember that these calculations are only estimates.

It is also important to note that if you have employer sponsored health care, you will not qualify for federal subsidies in Covered California, unless the employer provided individual coverage exceeds 9.5 percent of your household income. If it exceeds that amount, you may qualify for subsidies in Covered California.

We will continue to update you as information is available. 

If you wish to comment or would like additional information, please contact the CSEA Governmental Relations Office at (916) 444-0598.  Letters can be sent to 1127 11th Street, Suite 346, Sacramento, CA  95814.


Public Notice: You Are Invited

June 20, 2013

Next week I will be posting more information about
Covered California and the Affordable Care Act

From: http://www.coveredca.com/news/press-releases/town-hall-06-21-13.html

Covered California Town Hall

A special forum on California’s new health care marketplace for Orange County community leaders and key stakeholders.

Please join Covered California’s Executive Director Peter V. Lee for a town hall discussion to include:

  • An update on Covered California’s progress and current plans
  • Outreach and community education strategies
  • What you can do to help ensure every Californian has access to affordable health insurance
  • Your feedback and comments

This event is open to organizations and community leaders interested in helping to ensure all Californians can access health insurance under the Affordable Care Act through Covered California.

Date & Time:
June 21, 2013 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. (doors open at 1:30)

Location:
Orange County UFCW Auditorium (map)
8530 Stanton Ave.
Buena Park, 90620

Parking is available on site.

Please register for this town hall by calling 1-888-975-1141.

This event is co-hosted by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Senator Lou Correa, Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva and Assembly Member Tom Daly.

Click here for more information and the flyer.


CSEA Member Career Grant Program

June 11, 2013

Do you know an active CSEA member taking courses at a local community college or university, seeking a degree or simply enhancing his or her career opportunities? If so, they are eligible to apply for one of CSEA’s Member Career Grants.

Applications are now being accepted for CSEA’s Member Career Grant program, which offers grants in the amount of $1,000 to be used towards the cost of tuition, books and other fees related to attendance at community colleges, public or private universities or other vocational institutions.

Member Career Grants are open to CSEA members in good standing who are seeking to enhance their education and skills toward career-oriented goals.

CSEA MEMBER CAREER GRANT

Eligibility

a. Applicants must be members in good standing of CSEA.

b. Applicants must either be enrolled in an accredited school of higher education at the time application for the grant is made or plan to enroll for the semester/quarter immediately following receipt of the grant. (Enrollment may be on either a part-time or full-time basis.)

c. Applicants must be working towards a definitive degree or a specific career goal.

d. Applicants must submit an official application form postmarked not later than midnight October 31.

Official Application

Application forms are available from CSEA Headquarters upon request or online at

www.csea.com. OR click here.

Failure to return the completed form and other requested information postmarked not later than midnight October 31 will be cause for disqualification of the applicant.

Number of Grants and Amounts

22 CSEA Member Career Grants will be awarded in amounts not to exceed $1,000 each.

Payment

Payment will be made either to the recipient or the school/college upon submission of a verification of enrollment. A verification of enrollment shall be sent to each recipient for this purpose. If the recipient fails to provide proof of enrollment, the monies will be forfeited and awarded to a designated alternate.