California's newly sworn-in governor didn't waste any time tackling one of his key campaign pledges: expanding health care access in the Golden State.
Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled out a package of health care proposals and policies a few hours after his inauguration, including an executive order to create a new California surgeon general, and another that would consolidate the state's prescription drug negotiating power.
Right now, state health care programs like Medi-Cal for low-income Californians, CalPERS for retirees and the prison system all negotiate drug prices separately. Gov. Newsom's order directs state agencies to bargain together, and opens the door for private employers to join them, creating what Newsom's office calls the "biggest single-purchaser system for drugs."
The new governor also wants to expand subsidies to help people buy medical coverage through Covered California — the Affordable Care Act marketplace — by both increasing the amount of financial assistance given to current eligible families and expanding access to middle-income families. Under the proposal, individuals who earn $72,000 a year, and a family of four that earns $150,000 could qualify for subsidies.
Newsom also wants to give undocumented young adults the ability to stay on Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, longer.