In its first meeting of the year on Jan. 31, the CHA Board of Trustees discussed and approved CHA’s 2019 advocacy priorities, which include leading efforts to improve coverage and access to health care; exploring new approaches to making health care more affordable; ensuring adequate state and federal funding for hospitals; reducing stigma and improving access to behavioral health care; strengthening the health care workforce and increasing funding for graduate medical education; and easing statutory and regulatory burdens for providers.
The board also received a report on federal and state regulatory and legislative proposals, along with an update on CHA’s long-range policy development. In addition, board members engaged in a discussion about improving public confidence in hospitals through effective, proactive, relevant and transparent community benefit activities.
Tom Nickels, executive vice president, government relations and public policy for the American Hospital Association, presented his view of federal political changes and challenges, which included lack of bipartisanship, intra-party fragmentation, and positioning for 2020. Nickels noted that health care, particularly cost transparency and drug pricing, will continue to be at the forefront.
Jason Kinney, public affairs and political communications consultant, shared his view of the post-2018 California political stage and transition of the governorship to Gavin Newsom. With health care as one of his top three policy priorities, Gov. Newsom has emphasized reinstating the individual mandate for health coverage in California, increasing subsidies under the exchange, improving subsidies for coverage issued through the exchange, expanding coverage under Medi-Cal for individuals under age 26, and the creation of both a state surgeon general position and a statewide collaborative to purchase prescription medications.
Finally, Chair Calvin Knight, president and CEO, John Muir Health, stressed the importance of contributing to the California Hospital Association Political Action Committee (CHPAC) and meeting the CHPAC hospital campaign goals.