Critical Medi-Cal funding provided by Proposition 56, the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act, is under threat due to the state budget deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor has proposed reclaiming at least part of the $1.2 billion in Prop 56 funding, which is actually supposed to go to increased payments to Medi-Cal providers. Voters approved Prop 56 to address the low reimbursement rates and provider participation that often resulted in poor access to care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
L.A. Care stands against any effort to divert Prop 56 funding, and has joined more than 30 high-profile health care and children’s advocacy organizations in signing a letter asking California lawmakers to reject any diversion of Prop 56 funds from their originally intended use.
The loss of this funding would be especially harmful for children on Medi-Cal. Much of the Prop 56 funding is designated to support various child-serving Medi-Cal providers who are addressing access issues that have led to poor well-child utilization, low developmental screening rates, a lack of trauma screenings or trainings, and long waits for specialist appointments.
Prop 56 funding also created the CalHealthCares Loan Repayment Program, which strengthens the pediatric provider workforce through loan forgiveness. This program helps recruit and retain pediatricians who can ensure that children receiving Medi-Cal benefits will have better health outcomes.
We are making progress with the help of Prop 56 funding, but COVID-19 is certain to raise a number of new issues, including a need for mental health support for children who are struggling through distance learning. This is no time to move backwards.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.2 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.