May Revise on the Horizon, Budget Committees Busy with Hearings

Next week, the Governor is expected to reveal his May Revision to his January budget proposal, though by statute, the Administration has until May 14 to do so. The Governor’s January Budget Proposal alluded to areas where updated estimates would be provided in the May Revision, such as the impact related to the passage of federal tax reform, the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and budget proposals related to Proposition 64 cannabis revenues. CHEAC will monitor the release of the May Revision closely and will provide a summary shortly thereafter.

Oral Health Rollover and Elimination of the 340B Program Heard in Assembly Budget Sub. 1

Oral Health Rollover. On Monday, CHEAC presented our stakeholder request to rollover unexpended funding to subsequent fiscal years before the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services. CHEAC has been working with a coalition of partners consisting of the California Dental Association, California Health+ Advocates, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Children Now, The Children’s Partnership, and the University of Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry Pacific Center for Special Care. The proposal had a noticeable show of support in committee from coalition partners, CSAC, and others. While there were no questions regarding the proposal, Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula, Chair of the Subcommittee, indicated his support for the proposal and agreement, that in keeping with the original intent of the Proposition, the funding should continue to be made available to local health departments. No action was taken at this time.

340B Program Elimination. The Administration’s proposal to eliminate the 340B Drug Purchasing Program in Medi-Cal was also heard in Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services. Rene Mollow, Deputy Director for Health Care Benefits and Eligibility at the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), presented the proposal as necessary to comply with federal regulations and indicated that their continued work to build a savings estimate associated with the proposal. The Department and indicated their intent to include saving projections in the May Revision. There was a strong display of opposition, including CHEAC and our other county partners – CSAC, CAPH and CBHDA, individual counties, hospitals and clinics, and specialty care centers.

Assembly Member Blanca Rubio raised concerns with communities that would be impacted, even despite a potential augmentation to that could be considered to minimize the impact. She noted that the elimination seemed premature and encouraged the Administration to work with stakeholders to find alternative solutions for coming into compliance.

Assembly Member Arambula underscored many of Assembly Member Rubio’s comments and further noted that the federal law does not require elimination, but instead requires accountability and program integrity. He also mentioned that had he had a quorum, he may have asked for an action on the proposal at that time. He too urged the Administration to find an alternative that would be best for the state. No action was taken.