California is poised to be the first state in the nation to make healthcare coverage universal while establishing a comprehensive strategy to rein in healthcare costs.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state budget proposal addresses the urgent need to control the growth of healthcare costs in California, which have consistently risen faster than wages, eroded wealth generation, and inhibited access to care. Millions of Californians are unable to afford the average health insurance premium without a subsidy and nearly a million undocumented immigrants have no healthcare coverage.
We strongly support the governor’s proposal to offer Medi-Cal access to all undocumented adults in California. It will both reduce dependence on the emergency room for care, which is the most expensive option, as well as encourage people to seek treatment early, before a condition becomes serious and has the potential to lead to costly, long-term health issues. This is the last biggest step to universal health care coverage in California.
In addition, the Governor’s Office of Health Care Affordability would put our state in the forefront of tackling the high cost of care at its roots. The proposal will provide transparency, hold the entire delivery system accountable for its cost growth, and move us toward rewarding quality of care and patient outcomes. The Office of Health Care Affordability is the most important step the state can take in realizing a healthcare system that is equitable, high quality, and sustainably affordable for every Californian.
These bold ideas are what will help make health care more accessible to all, and again make California an example for the nation.
Paul Markovich is president and chief executive officer of Blue Shield of California