For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2023
2023-24 May Revise:
Governor’s Budget Protects Children’s Health
[Los Angeles, CA] MAY 12, 2023 – Governor Gavin Newsom released a pragmatic May Budget Revision today that prioritizes children’s health, protects progress, and leaves the door open to expand California’s health equity work. The Children’s Partnership applauds Gov. Newsom for making children’s health equity a priority.
Many California families from historically marginalized communities continue to struggle. The onus is on all of us to do everything we can so that the California State Budget is equitable and protects families.
“We applaud the Governor’s continued commitment to fiscal responsibility and the inclusion of investments that further child health equity. All children in California deserve to grow up healthy and thrive. Investments in expanding health coverage, strengthening Medi-Cal, and boosting CalWORKs and universal school meals will pay dividends in support of a child’s lifetime health. In the final State Budget, we urge the Governor and Legislature to further center the needs of California’s youngest children of color as we advance a just and equitable agenda for all our children and families.”Mayra E. Alvarez, President, The Children’s Partnership
The May Revise recognizes the complexity of families’ lives. It reflects the tough economic situation California faces, while protecting California’s core values, children, and families. We thank the Governor for including children’s health investments that will improve health equity for CA’s children. The following investments in the Governor’s May Revision are also part of The Children’s Partnership’s 2023 policy agenda:
- Renewing the Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax. Using MCO tax revenue to support Medi-Cal investments that improve access, quality, and equity. This includes $11.1 billion in rate increases for primary care, OB/GYN, doulas, and non-specialty mental health care.
- Implementing the expansion of the California Food Assistance Program, for adults 55+ regardless of immigration status, in 2025 instead of 2027.
- Maintaining funding to expand full-scope Medi-Cal for all income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status.
- Supporting early childhood development by waiving family fees for state preschool programs.
- Addressing income security by increasing CalWorks grants.
- Restoring $20 million for the Court Appointed Special Advocates program serving children in the child welfare system, which was proposed for elimination in the January 2023-24 proposal.
Yet, in the aftermath of the pandemic and the unwinding of the federal Public Health Emergency, there is more work to do in our state budget to support the immediate and long-term health of children of color.
We urge the Governor to work closely with the Senate and Assembly to implement and expand the following policies and programs in the final 2023-24 Budget:
- Expand the California Food Assistance Program to include undocumented children, 66% of whom face food insecurity.
- Increase the MCO tax, and utilizing the revenue to fund an increase in the rate paid to Community Health Workers in Medi-Cal to a thriving wage.
- Invest in a Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund to implement community-defined supports and services.
- Invest $2.4 million annually to extend Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program services for 12 months post-pregnancy.
- Remove enrollment barriers for children and families in Medi-Cal through expedited implementation of continuous Medi-Cal coverage for children 0-5.
- Withdraw the proposed delay of the community health worker workforce certification and training that had been included in the January proposal.
- Extend unemployment benefits to include undocumented workers, who contribute an estimated $3.7 billion in annual state and local tax revenues.
- Support infant and early childhood mental health with a $100 million investment.
“The investments are also critical to advancing health equity for California’s children from historically marginalized communities. We look forward to working with state policy-makers to include these investments in the June budget. Together, they would strengthen our state’s programs that support maternal & early childhood health, increase access to safety net programs, and invest in community-defined solutions to well-being. We can support the health of children and families of color who disproportionately experience poverty in our state.”Gabriella Barbosa, Managing Director of Policy at The Children’s Partnership
Additional context on the Governor’s May Revision:
Infant, Early Childhood & Youth Mental Health
“The May Revise stays the course on the Governor’s Master Plan for Kid’s Mental Health. The Governor’s plan is grounded in significant and historic investments in the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative, among others. The Governor’s parallel proposal to reform the Mental Health Services Act is an opportunity to evaluate the impact of ongoing mental health efforts for children and youth of color. This proposal will assess what resources are still needed to ensure a whole-child, whole-family, whole-community approach to child and youth mental health and well-being.”Angela M. Vázquez, Policy Director at The Children’s Partnership
Health Coverage & Medi-Cal Investments
Increasing access to quality health care is a critical health equity strategy. It is not enough to have a Medi-Cal insurance card. Families need to be able to find a doctor. We are thrilled to see the May Revise provide a long-term investment of $11 billion to increase Medi-Cal payment rates to pediatricians, OB/GYNs, non-specialty mental health and doulas. Now, we need to also include payment increases community health workers for a thriving wage.”Kristen Golden Testa, Director, California Health Programs, at The Children’s Partnership
Social Drivers of Health
“We appreciate that the Governor maintains many crucial housing, climate and equity investments made in prior years. However, the May Revise misses important opportunities to invest in addressing social drivers of health that disproportionately harm the health of kids and communities of color. These include issues such as unaffordable housing, poor air quality, and extreme heat. No investments are made in the Health Equity & Racial Justice Fund or expansion of refundable tax credits for families making low wages. It will be critical that the Governor and policymakers consider all future options to meet the needs of our communities, including raising revenue by fairly taxing California’s most profitable corporations.”Maddie Ribble, Policy Director, Social Drivers of Health, at The Children’s Partnership
More information and background:
- The Children’s Partnership Pre-May Revise Letter to the Governor
- Children’s Health Equity Policy Agenda
We look forward to working with the Governor to implement health equity policies that allow all of California’s children to lead healthy lives.
The Children’s Partnership (TCP) is a California-based children’s policy and advocacy organization committed to advancing child health equity through public policy, research and community engagement. TCP envisions a California where all children—regardless of their race, ethnicity or place of birth—have the resources and opportunities they need to grow up healthy and thrive. Learn more at childrenspartnership.org.