SACRAMENTO - The federal government today approved California's five-year, $10 billion Medi-Cal Section 1115 waiver proposal that will fund key coverage initiatives for low income Californians and better coordinated care for Medi-Cal recipients.
California's current waiver expires this month and the state has been negotiating a new waiver to fund a variety of health care initiatives that will better position the state and its safety net providers to care for the significant number of Californians that will become eligible for Medi-Cal and the California Health Benefit Exchange in 2014.
California recently enacted bipartisan urgency legislation, subject to the final federal approval gained today, that implements the provisions of the new waiver in AB 342 (J. Pérez) and SB 208 (Steinberg).
"I want to thank the Obama Administration for its incredible commitment to California and bipartisan cooperation," Pérez said. "Not only is this the largest Medicaid waiver ever approved, it invests in our state and our counties and helps vulnerable Californians gain access to better, more coordinated care. I also want to thank the members of our Congressional delegation that have supported this effort over the last year. They have truly made a difference."
The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has broad authority to "waive" federal Medicaid law to fund state demonstration projects that will improve the state's Medicaid programs and services to low income and disabled people.
WHAT DOES THE WAIVER DO FOR CALIFORNIA?
California will receive approximately $10 billion in federal funds to invest in the health delivery system and support the state's preparation for and transition to the requirements of federal health care reform. These investments are also designed to help slow the rate of growth in health care costs within the Medi-Cal program.
$3.3 billion for investments in California's public hospitals.
$2.9 billion over the next four years for county based coverage for low-income individuals who will become eligible for full Medi-Cal in 2014.
$3.9 billion for uncompensated care costs to safety net hospitals and the state.
Generates over $2.5 billion in General Fund savings over the five year term of the waiver.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement today regarding an Alameda County judge granting a temporary stay of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent veto of child care funding:
"The Governor's veto of child care funding means thousands of Californians could lose their jobs and thousands of children could lose their safe, educational child care. We are working to find bridge funding to avoid this crisis until we can send legislation restoring the cuts to the new Governor. I am hopeful the judge will ultimately block the cuts permanently, but regardless of the outcome today's decision staying the cuts for one week until a full hearing can be held makes our job of finding temporary funding a little bit easier."
A coalition of public interest law groups had petitioned the Alameda County Superior Court late Thursday to save the critical child care funding for working, low-income California families.
Speaker Pérez has been working with the state's First 5 Commission and the 58 County Commissions, seeking their help in providing bridge funding for the program. Speaker Pérez also announced the Assembly would contribute $6 million to the effort from savings realized through cuts to the Assembly's operating budget.
The Governor's veto eliminated safe, subsidized child care slots for 81,000 children in 60,000 working families in California whose parents have moved off welfare and into the workforce. His veto also means small business child care providers throughout the state face having to lay off their own employees as well.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Senator Jenny Oropeza:
"I was tremendously saddened to learn that Senator Oropeza has passed away. From the time I worked with her on the Long Beach City Council, through our service together in the Legislature, I know she was a leader of conscience and compassion, and was an able and talented representative of her constituents. I know we will all miss her charm and cheerful smile, and my thoughts and prayers are with her family, constituents and staff at this time."
SACRAMENTO – As part of his continuing efforts to improve openness in state government, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) took public testimony today at the State Capitol to solicit public comment about how the Speaker should exercise the authority each legislative leader has to strike up to six applicants from the pool of citizens that will eventually make up California’s redistricting commission.
“We are holding this meeting today to invite the public to present their views on what kind of commissioners they believe should serve in this vital role,” Pérez said. “I will be looking for candidates who will ensure that every voice is heard.”
Proposition 11, passed in 2008, requires a 14-member redistricting commission to draw Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts in 2011. Proposition 11 requires the commission to consist of 5 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 4 from neither party (i.e. decline-to-state or minor party members).
The Bureau of State Audits was responsible for accepting applicants for the Commission and narrowing the field to 60 individuals - 20 Democrats, 20 Republicans and 20 from neither party.
The next step in the selection process requires the four legislative leaders to exercise up to 2 strikes each for each applicant pool. In other words, the Speaker can strike 2 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 2 from neither party. Assuming each leader exercises all of his strikes, each pool will be reduced to 12 applicants (for a total of 36 remaining applicants). Legislative strikes must be complete by November 15, 2010.
From these reduced pools, the State Auditor then randomly selects the first 8 commissioners - 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 2 from neither party. That must be done by November 20, 2010. Those 8 commissioners then must pick the remaining 6 commissioners from the remaining applicants - 2 Democrats, 2 Republicans, and 2 from neither party. This must be completed by December 31, 2010.
Assembly Pitches In $6 Million to Keep Child Care Going
LOS ANGELES – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced a new plan to help prevent a crisis for thousands of California working families triggered by the governor’s recent veto of vital child care funding. Flanked by families and small business child care providers, Pérez outlined an aggressive approach to finding bridge funding for the child care program, which keeps parents working and off welfare, keeps child care workers on the job, and keeps children in safe, supervised settings.
“Throughout the long and difficult budget process the Assembly maintained that we must make budget decisions that help, rather than hurt, our economy,” Pérez said. “That’s why we specifically rejected the Governor’s call to cut child care funding because we understood the importance of protecting the jobs of providers and protecting the jobs of the parents who rely on these programs to provide safe, quality care for their children. We are absolutely committed to restoring these cuts, and, until that can be done, I am announcing that we will be aggressively pursuing every option possible to provide bridge funding for this vital program—including the Assembly putting in $6 million that we have realized from cuts to our own operating budget.”
In addition to announcing the Assembly contribution to help avert the crisis, Pérez noted he is reaching out to several prominent organizations including the statewide and county First 5 Commissions to also intervene and help provide funds to keep the child care subsidies going until full funding can be restored by the Legislature. Pérez reiterated his commitment to having legislation restoring the cuts approved as soon as possible.
Pérez was flanked by dozen of parents, child care providers and children who may be devastated by the Governor’s cuts, including Martin Castro from the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation and Holly Mitchell from Crystal Stairs, both Los Angeles-based agencies that may be forced to lay off employees due to the Governor’s cuts.
Earlier this month the Governor eliminated subsidized child care slots for 81,000 children in 60,000 working families whose parents have moved off welfare and into the workforce.
In Los Angeles County alone, the cuts mean:
Over 11,000 families who are currently working, paying taxes and contributing to the economy will be forced to make difficult decisions between caring for their children or maintaining their employment.
Over 17,000 young children will be removed from their child care programs beginning November 1, 2010.
Nearly 6,000 providers, including licensed family child care homes and child care centers will lose payment for services, placing their businesses, already hard hit by vacancies because of the struggling economy at risk of closure.
Over $400 Million annually of economic input will be lost to Los Angeles County.
One of California’s big success stories has been helping individuals, particularly single mothers, become more self-sufficient and move from welfare to work. Without swift action to prevent the harm from the governor’s vetoes, that success story may be coming to an end.
See attached for letters from the Speaker to members of the Statewide First 5 Commision and the chairs of the County First 5 Commissions urging the commissions to consider partnering with other organizations in providing bridge funding for child care cut by the Governor. Also attached is a letter from Commissioner Collis to his colleagues on the First Five Commission requesting a hearing and action on the issue at the earliest possible date.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement following the Governor’s line-item vetoes that would harm California’s economy:
"Governor Schwarzenegger's final actions in office were directed at making life more difficult for California's working parents and the poorest, sickest and most elderly Californians. This is disappointing, but not surprising, considering the fact that his budget plan would have wiped out 430,000 jobs."
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) delivered the following remarks as the California Assembly began voting today on a legislative package to close the state budget deficit and prevent hundreds of thousands of layoffs that would have resulted from the Governor’s May Revision:
“From the moment I was sworn in as Speaker, I have consistently said that this budget must be arrived at in an open and transparent process. The people of California have every right and expectation to know what decisions their leaders are making, and in a year where we face such enormous challenges, the expectation of transparency becomes an imperative of transparency.
“We have lived up to that commitment. We have held more than 100 hearings here in the Capitol. We have held forums throughout the state, in Fresno, San Diego, Palm Springs, Orange County, Albany, Reseda and Sacramento.
“Thousands of Californians participated in these hearings and forums. We clearly outlined the scope of the problem, and the impact of the various proposals put forward to close it.
“Within the context of the past several years, and especially last year, this is an unprecedented level of openness and transparency in the process.
“That transparency has fundamentally strengthened the final product we are voting on today.
“From the moment this process began, we outlined the principles we believe the final budget should reflect.
“We said the budget should reflect the values and priorities of Californians.
“We said the budget should protect the 400,000 jobs that would have been eliminated in the May Revise.
“And we said the budget should make good economic decisions that don’t harm our economy further.
“We put forward a number of proposals that met those tests. We vetted them in public, and used the insights we gained to strengthen and inform the final product we are voting on today.
“This budget protects 430,000 jobs from elimination. These are teachers, cops, firefighters, child care providers, health care workers and private business owners who will keep working and contributing to our economic recovery.
“We maintain education funding because a well-educated workforce is essential to California’s future prosperity.
“We set aside 30 million dollars to promote small businesses grow and thrive by freeing up access to the capital that will help them expand and hire new employees.
“We protect public safety programs to keep Californians safe.
“And we reject economically hurtful tax increases on California’s working families.
“This is a solid, but sober, deal for California.
“Now let’s be clear, this is not a perfect budget. In the era of the Great Recession, there is no such thing as a perfect budget.
“Moreover, this is a budget that reflects the compromises necessary to find a two-thirds majority. This is most glaringly obvious in the fact that it has taken us nearly 100 days to approve a spending plan.
“The fact that we have twin supermajority requirements for both the budget and revenues is directly correlated to the fact that California is routinely the last state in the Union to approve a budget.
“However this budget does speak to the values we have articulated throughout the process. It saves 400,000 jobs, makes good economic decisions for California and maintains education funding.
“This vote today is the culmination of a lengthy and difficult process. We have begun an honest conversation with the people of California, and that conversation needs to continue.
“We need to continue laying the foundation for a return to prosperity, and in finding budget solutions that move us forward on that pathway.
“This budget is a natural vehicle to continue that conversation into the next year, both in terms of job creation and retention, and in our budget deliberations.
“As we approach the Budget next year, we need to build on the open and transparent process we implemented with this budget.
“We need to continue the hard work of creating and retaining as many jobs as possible.
“And we need to ensure that the decisions we make will continue to help our economy move further down the pathway towards recovery.
“This budget, while not perfect, was produced in an open and transparent process. It saves hundreds of thousands of jobs, and it doesn’t harm our recovery by taking federal funds out of the economy or more money out of the classroom.
“This is a budget every member can and should support.”
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement after today’s California Supreme Court rulings:
“Today’s rulings by the Supreme Court wipe out decades of precedent by validating a power grab by the Governor. These rulings have disturbing implications for California because they erode the separation of powers that allows our government to function. California needs real reform to how our government operates, not the creation of an imperial governorship that is unaccountable to the Legislature, and today’s actions by the Court take us down that path and away from real reform.”
LOS ANGELES – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) discussed the importance of implementing federal health care reforms in California at today’s signing ceremony for AB 1602, legislation the Speaker authored to create the nation’s first state health benefit exchange as called for under federal health care reforms.
“Close to two million of our family members, friends and neighbors lost their job-based health coverage in the last two years because of the recession,” Pérez said at the bill’s signing ceremony. “As we continue working to save and create jobs in California, we must also work to fix the state’s health care crisis. AB 1602 helps make the possibilities created by health care reform into realities for California families by creating a marketplace where insurers compete for their business based on quality, price and service and where they can claim federal premium subsidies and tax credits to buy affordable coverage.”
Applauding Governor Schwarzenegger for signing the bill, Speaker Pérez added, “In a state with the most uninsured and underinsured in the nation, AB 1602 has been a long time in coming. We will begin working immediately to secure quality, affordable coverage for the hard working people of this state.”
In establishing the California Health Benefits Exchange, California positions itself to help working people and small businesses draw down several billion dollars in available federal tax credits and for the first time, giving them the purchasing power of very large employer groups.
For more information, click here to view the attached fact sheet.
SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) has directed the Assembly Rules Committee to post online the salaries of the Assemblymembers, officers and employees of the California State Assembly. Speaker Pérez’s action comes in response to a request from Assemblymember Alyson Huber (D-El Dorado Hills), the author of legislation to require all branches of government, including the Assembly and Senate, to disclose salary information online.
“The scandals in the City of Bell have made it clear more public disclosure of public salaries is in order,” Pérez said. “Assemblymember Alyson Huber is leading the effort to make sure this disclosure is required by law. We believe it is important that this disclosure be made while those efforts are continuing, so I have directed that this information be posted immediately on the Assembly website.”
In a letter to the Speaker, Huber states, “I introduced AB 2064 to require all levels of government – including cities and counties, as well as the Legislature and Constitutional Officers – to make the salaries of elected and appointed officials publicly available on their websites,” and notes, “Unfortunately my bill died in the Senate after amendments were made to the bill that I felt compromised what was trying to be achieved, but I look forward to continuing to work with you to bring more transparency and openness to state government. As I continue to work to ensure that this disclosure is required by law, I believe we also need to lead by example and post legislative salaries on our Assembly website.”
“This bill brings California’s election recount process into the 21st century. Elections are a fundamental democratic principle and we must make every effort to ensure their integrity. I believe AB 44, will do just that.”
As Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, I know the importance of college affordability and safety. We must ensure students are provided with safe learning environments. In addition, students need transparency in higher education costs in order to make informed financial decisions for college."
"We know that students in foster care are more likely to achieve their full potential when they are provided services designed to meet their particular needs. It's imperative that foster youth get the support and resources they need to succeed academically."