“At a December 2012 meeting, The California Endowment Board of Directors voted unanimously to pledge a minimum of $225 million in a special allocation over the next four years to support the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California. We have a golden opportunity to create a health care system that is more accessible, more cost-effective, and more prevention-oriented. We offer this commitment in a sense of partnership, with humility about the task before us, but with urgency about the opportunity in front of us”.
At a December 2012 meeting, The California Endowment Board of Directors voted unanimously to pledge $225 million in a special allocation over the next four years to support the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California. In doing so, The Endowment is building upon our work to expand access to affordable, quality health care for all Californians. This special allocation also supports and builds upon our 10-year Building Healthy Communities plan to advance and promote prevention and improved health in underserved communities across California, and as represented in our Health Happens Here campaign
Our commitment was communicated to Governor Jerry Brown. We applaud the Governor for his commitment to move forward on full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and, with his budget proposal, the clear signal for expanding access to coverage for lower income Californians. Our commitment will support the successful outreach and enrollment of those who are eligible under the Medi-cal expansion. Our decision for this special allocation was driven by our belief that we have a golden opportunity to create a health system that is more accessible, more cost-effective, and more prevention-oriented.
The purpose of this special allocation is fourfold:
- Support efforts by the state to jumpstart community outreach and enrollment in Medi-Cal and other insurance plans in order to be prepared when the major provisions of the new health law take hold in January 2014. We hope to support the work of the Brown Administration and the state Health Benefit Exchange Board – now known as Covered California – in encouraging uninsured Californians to take full advantage of the new law’s coverage benefits.
- Support the expansion of the primary care health workforce in anticipation of the increased demand for services for hundreds of thousands of newly insured Californians. Using effective, existing primary care workforce programs administered by the state, we estimate that a minimum of 1500 new primary care health provider jobs can be created to work in underserved areas as a result of our financial commitment.
- Invest in reforming the delivery of care to control health care costs. We hope to expand on efforts to improve the management of chronic disease by increasing the quality and efficiency of care coordination and team-based care. We can better control the costs of chronic disease by keeping patients out of emergency rooms and hospitals through better and smarter care.
- The final portion of our commitment recognizes that the Affordable Care Act, while providing opportunities for the majority of uninsured Californians, will still leave as many as one million undocumented state residents without coverage. We commit funding to exploring public and private avenues to provide more consistent care for the undocumented population of Californians who contribute to our economy and civic life.
We recognize that the extraordinary and historic opportunity of health reform arrives at a fragile moment in the struggle to achieve fiscal stability for our state. We understand that the ability and capacity of our Governor and state leaders to utilize General Fund dollars to invest in the successful implementation of the new health law is constrained. But our research tells us that if we can invest resources in partnership with the state of California, we will be able to generate federal matching funds through the Affordable Care Act, and multiply the value of our private sector investment. In our view, this constitutes a triple-bottom line commitment to our state: more jobs, better access to care, and improved primary care services and prevention.
We offer this investment with a clear-eyed sense of optimism as the backdrop. The economy has begun to improve. The Affordable Care Act has now weathered and survived political, legal, and electoral challenges. Governor Jerry Brown has successfully set a leadership tone of “bold pragmatism” in restoring California to its promise– the brand of leadership sorely needed to fix our dysfunctional and too-expensive health system. The Governor has been very well served, in our view, by the leadership of Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley, who is promoting a culture of public-private partnership to address the pressing health needs of our state; her leadership of the Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force is a prime example. And we are encouraged by the compassionate and prudent leadership of Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Speaker John Perez, each of whom brings a strong track record of thoughtful advocacy for our state’s most vulnerable families.
Mr. Peter Lee, the Executive Director of Covered California, has brought a sense of inspired passion to the new California Health Benefit Exchange, respecting the valued input of both health industry leaders and health consumer advocates. And California’s health provider industry, community health centers, and health plans have already grown accustomed to years of providing better care to patients on relatively fewer resources. Health care cost data supports the notion that California’s health providers are arguably among the most efficient providers in our nation. Given the opportunity, they will help find a way to improve access and control the costs of care.
We have also witnessed promising levels of leadership and engagement from organized labor and the business community, and support from both will be critical in successfully implementing the Affordable Care Act in our state.
Of course, none of this is easy. Our Board feels quite strongly, however, that the coming three-year window is the most critical opportunity to usher in meaningful health reform in the last half-century. The combined crises of seven million uninsured Californians, and crushing health costs for businesses and workers, make now the time.
We offer this commitment in a sense of partnership, with humility about the task before us, but with urgency about the opportunity in front of us.
Note to community partners and potential grantees: Interested BHC partners and grantees should contact their program manager for additional information.
Tessie Guillermo, Chair Robert K. Ross, M.D., President & CEO
Board of Directors:
C. Dean Germano Russ Gould
Susan V. Berresford Zac Guevara
Daniel Boggan Christina Kazhe
Walter L. Buster Kate Kendell
Jesse Casso, Jr. James Lewis Kyle II
Shan Cretin Maurice Lim Miller
Adrienne Y. Crowe Hugo Morales
Jane Garcia Steve PonTell