Last week, California Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas announced new chairs for many Assembly policy committees. The women and men in some of these roles will play an important part in shaping health care policy and their appointments present CHA and hospital leaders with an opportunity to engage and educate a new crop of policymakers about the threats to hospital care in California.
Of greatest relevance, the new chair of the Assembly Health Committee will be Assembly Member Mia Bonta, representing Oakland, Alameda, and other parts of the East Bay. Assembly Member Bonta has worked to represent and support students and working families her entire career and making health care more affordable for families is one of her priorities, having previously co-sponsored legislation to enact a single payer health system. While in the Assembly she also has sponsored several bills to support her community including a seismic extension bill for a local health system. CHA has a good working relationship with the new chair and looks forward to working with her in this new role.
Assembly Member Jim Wood will move from Health Committee chair to Speaker Pro Tem, an important assignment and leadership position within the caucus.
Other appointments of note include:
- The Appropriations Committee will be chaired by Assembly Member Buffy Wicks, who has spent much of her time as a legislator focused on housing and issues related to poverty. She has also been a proponent of a single payer system, as well as supporting legislation to increase access to health and behavioral health services.
- The Budget Committee will be chaired by Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel, who has previously authored legislation to enforce nurse staffing ratios.
- The Budget Subcommittee on Health will remain with Assembly Member Akilah Weber, MD, who is highly familiar with health issues. This committee was split in two, separating health issues from human services issues, which will now have its own subcommittee chaired by Assembly Member Corey Jackson.
- The Assembly Insurance Committee will remain with Assembly Member Lisa Calderon as chair, and the Business and Professions Committee will remain with Assembly Member Marc Berman as chair.
The Senate will also see changes in 2024. Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins will be passing the baton to Senator Mike McGuire, who represents the far northwestern part of the state. It is anticipated that he will announce new chairs for a handful of committees once he takes on the new role.
In addition to these new chairs, the 2024 election is expected to bring some 30 new legislators to California’s Assembly and Senate — more than a quarter of policymakers will be new to their seats in a little over a year’s time. This is another reminder that the daily advocacy work of your association is a ceaseless endeavor, and every change brings a fresh chance to have conversations with those who ultimately determine how health care in California is paid for and delivered.
Your association continues to be at the forefront of those conversations, at the right tables in Sacramento, ensuring that the hospital voice is heard.