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Budget Bliss: Health Care at the Forefront

California’s $213 billion annual budget is something of a litmus test. Its value hinges greatly on one’s point of view, and depending on how you look at things, you can find plenty to be pleased with and plenty to be upset about.

In the latest iteration of Gov. Newsom’s spending plan, released earlier this month, health care leaders should find much to be happy about. Newsom makes significant new investments in care — hundreds of millions of dollars for priorities shared by hospitals. Among his noteworthy allocations:

  • $650 million – for homeless emergency aid programs
  • $360 million – for the Value-Based Medi-Cal Program
  • $295 million – to expand health insurance subsidies through Covered California
  • $150 million – for workforce development programs for mental health practitioners
  • $100 million – for whole person pilot care programs to provide housing for people with mental illness
  • $98 million – to expand Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented adults age 19-25
  • $70 million – for Medi-Cal behavioral health integration programs
  • $60 million – for early childhood developmental screenings
  • $45 million – to screen Medi-Cal enrollees for adverse childhood experiences
  • $25 million – for intervention programs for youth who have had or are at high risk of experiencing psychosis

All told, this is well north of $1.5 billion in new spending for health care and other initiatives that will help you meet your mission of care.

Here’s where the litmus test comes in. While there has been some consternation that funds from Prop. 55 (intended to augment the Medi-Cal budget in strong fiscal years) have not materialized, the Governor’s spending plan does fund many programs and initiatives that serve Medi-Cal patients and other vulnerable populations.

In other words, the source of the funds — Prop. 55 or elsewhere — may be less important than the positive impact that newly allocated, increased spending will have on the patients and communities you serve. This budget is a testament to the shared goals of the Newsom administration and hospitals when it comes to meeting the needs of patients.

That’s something we can all stand behind.

– Carmela