Gino DiCaro

California healthcare policy update

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Nov. 16, 2012

California policymakers have been on an aggressive course to expand and improve healthcare and its delivery in the state.  Several significant actions were taken this week in furtherance of that effort.

The “Let’s Get Healthy California” Task Force released its draft report with recommendations for how California can move toward becoming the healthiest state in the nation over the next decade. The report identifies six goals under the heading of two strategic directions (Health Across the Lifespan & Pathways to Health) and contains numerous indicators to track the progress of accomplishing the goals. None of the proposed recommendations may require government funding to accomplish.

The Task Force was convened for six months by Executive Order from Governor Jerry Brown. This 23 member board is co-chaired by state Health and Human Services Secretary Diana S. Dooley and Dr. Don Berwick, Founder and former President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. To review the report in its entirety, please click on the link below. The final report will be released on December 19th.

View Task Force Report.

The California Health Benefit Exchange, now known to the public as Covered California, advanced several key proposals at their November 14th Board Meeting.

The Board authorized staff to submit documentation to the federal government that formally announces California’s intention to establish and operate a state-run health insurance marketplace, the Exchange. This “Blueprint” document outlines a dozen or so requirements that demonstrate the state’s readiness to move forward with the Exchange operation.

The Board also granted approval to request additional funding from the federal government for start-up and initial year operational costs. The request for this “establishment grant,” at approximately $706 million, will cover the period from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014, after which Covered California plans to be fully self-sustainable through assessments imposed on the healthcare plans. The federal rules contained in the Affordable Care Act limit the use of these funds to supporting Exchange-specific start-up costs, outreach activities and testing processes. You can view Covered California’s draft Budget Summary Plan here.

Finally, the Board granted approval to move forward with the emergency regulations to govern the solicitation process for Qualified Health Plans (QHP), health insurance plans offered to consumers in the Exchange. These regulations outline the process and standards to be utilized for selecting and contracting with QHPs. The Advance Notice of Intent to File Emergency Regulations can be found at here.

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