December 14, 2018 Edition
This week, Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom announced key appointments to the Governor’s Office of Strategic Communications and Public Engagement. Daniel Zingale will lead the office as the senior advisor on strategy and communications. Zingale has served as senior vice president of The California Endowment for the past 10 years, where he has worked on a number of health care enrollment and health equity initiatives. Prior to joining the Endowment, Zingale served as the chief of staff to former First Lady Maria Shriver and senior adviser to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Zingale was tasked with carrying out key health reform efforts as part of the Schwarzenegger Administration, including an individual health coverage mandate and expanded health coverage for uninsured Californians. Zingale also served as cabinet secretary for Governor Gray Davis and the founding director of the Department of Managed Health Care. Newsom will be the third California governor for which Zingale has worked.
Also announced were Nathan Click as chief spokesman and director of public affairs, Priscilla Cheng as senior political advisor, and Maricela Rodriguez as director of civic engagement and strategic partnerships. Click and Cheng served in key roles on the Newsom campaign as spokesperson and senior political adviser, respectively. Rodriguez will be joining the incoming administration from The California Endowment where she has served as the director of strategic communications.
After months of negotiations, U.S. Congress passed this week an expansive $867 billion farm bill. H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, passed the House on a 369-47 vote and the Senate on a 87-13 vote; the measure now heads to President Donald Trump where he is largely expected to sign the measure into law.
Recall, both the Senate and House passed their own versions of the farm bill in June. The House’s version passed the chamber on a razon-thin margin and included sweeping overhauls of nutrition programs that would shift Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and SNAP-Education (SNAP-Ed) funding from state and local agencies to state land grant universities. The House’s initial measure also increased the age for work requirements and made other significant modifications to eligibility. The Senate’s version of the farm bill passed in June did not include major modifications to the nutrition title provisions that govern SNAP and SNAP-Ed.
Congress allowed the current farm bill to lapse on September 30 after lawmakers could not come to a consensus on changes to SNAP provisions. As a result of the significant differences in the versions passed by both the Senate and House, a conference committee was convened to reconcile the two measures and set forth a final version of the measure. Despite allowing the current measure to lapse, lawmakers eyed the end of December as their hard deadline to pass the farm bill as a majority of the programs and funding included in the legislation does not expire until the end of the month.
The final version of the measure passed this week includes a vast array of agriculture-related provisions, farm subsidies, and funding authorization for nutrition programs over the next five years. While the measure did not include stronger work requirements for and eligibility modifications to SNAP, the measure does include provisions for the creation of an interstate data system to prevent multiple states from issuing simultaneously SNAP benefits to the same individual.
Public Health Advocates (PHA) and the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities are recruiting members of the All Children Thrive-California (ACT-CA) Initiative Equity Advisory Group. The ACT-CA is a three-year initiative (2019-2021) tasked with expanding the roles of counties and cities in preventing childhood trauma, countering its effects, and fostering community health and resilience. The initiative is a joint effort among UCLA, PHA, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and other relevant stakeholders. The Equity Advisory Group will work to ensure that the design and implementation of ACT-CA is equity-focused and community-driven and likely to succeed in changing outcomes for children.
More information about ACT-CA and an online application form for the Equity Advisory Group are available online here. The deadline for applications is Monday, December 31. If you apply to the Equity Advisory Workgroup, please let CHEAC Staff know via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This week, the Public Health Leadership Forum (PHLF), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), published a white paper titled, “Developing a Financing System to Support Public Health Infrastructure.” The white paper examines the current state of public health infrastructure, public health foundational capabilities, and current public health financing structures in the U.S. The paper assesses total costs of foundational capabilities and determines that a $4.5 billion gap exists between current spending and needed spending to fully implement foundational public health capabilities throughout the country.
To address this gap, the white paper proposes the creation of the Public Health Infrastructure Fund to enhance and maintain foundational public health capabilities of state, local, territorial, and tribal governments. Key principles are identified to guide the proposed new federal funding stream, which include:
- All people in America should be served by a public health agency that ensures equitable access to and protection by foundational public health capabilities.
- Financing of foundational capabilities is a governmental responsibility and should be assured through sustainable, dedicated revenue streams. Local, state, and federal governments should share in financing those capabilities as all levels of government ultimately benefit from them.
- Foundational public health capabilities should be assessed and provided in every community based on national standards – and maintaining those standards should be a condition of continued funding.
The proposal suggests that funding could be phased in over a period of time, distributed on a per capita basis, and require state matching. Funds could also be set aside for federal support of technical assistance, research, and demonstration projects. The white paper was primarily authored by Karen DeSalvo, former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health, and Jeffrey Levi, former Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) President and CEO. The full white paper is available here.
The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) this week released a visual guide that tells the story of the California budget over the past ten years. The report examines the timeline of the events from the December 2008 proposed budget projection of a $42 billion deficit that quickly grew, resulting in California being called “ungovernable,” “a wreck,” and a “failed state,” to present. Through a year-by-year assessment, the report details actions taken by the Legislature and Governor to implement structural changes to the budget, address outstanding debts, and increase state reserves. While a $15.9 billion reserve level is expected at the year-end of the 2018-19 budget, the LAO indicates that volatile revenue sources and other budgetary challenges loom as the state looks forward to future budget years. The full LAO visual guide is available here.