Children’s Health Equity Opportunities in the 2023-34 State Budget

Children’s Health Equity Opportunities in the 2023-34 State Budget

On June 27, Governor Newsom signed an interim state budget. We are grateful for key protections in the budget for the health and well-being of California’s children and the adults they rely on.

The final state budget:

  • Protects and expands health coverage for millions of Californians. 
  • Includes an expansion of California food benefits to people over 55. 
  • Reinstates the Managed Care Organization (MCO) tax to increase funds for improving access to care in Medi-Cal. 
  • Begins to invest in recruiting, training, and certifying community health workers. 
  • Improves reimbursement rates in primary care, specialty care, hospitals, clinics, community health workers, behavioral health, and reproductive health care. 
  • Invests in child care by creating permanent reform for racist child care family fees, and provides one-time funding to increase child care provider rates.
  • Funds Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs for foster youth.
  • Creates a permanent 10% increase in CalWORKs grants.

There are still opportunities to include critical supports that advance health equity and racial justice for our state’s children and their families. The budget can be amended until September 14, 2023, when the Legislature adjourns for interim recess. 

There were several missed opportunities in the interim budget that we urge Governor Newsom to prioritize funding for:

  • Implement continuous Medi-Cal health coverage for young children 0-5 so that they can receive uninterrupted access to health care.
  • Extend social support benefits of Medi-Cal’s Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program to 12 months postpartum to protect maternal and infant health. 
  • Increase reimbursement rates for Community Health Workers in Medi-Cal so that they are paid a thriving wage.  
  • Expand investments and fully fund the recruitment, training and certification of 25,000 new community health workers by 2025. 
  • Expand the California Food Assistance Program (CAFP) to include children, youth and all ages regardless of immigration status so that families are nourished.
  • Pull back on funding delays for broadband to give families high quality, affordable internet so they can access digital health, nutrition, housing and education services.
  • Expand unemployment benefits to include all people, no matter their immigration status, to support the one in five California children who live in a home with an undocumented parent.
  • Create the Health Equity Racial Justice Fund to help address health inequality among California’s Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, multiracial and other children of color. 
  • Maintain and expand commitments in environmental justice that support the health of children of color and their families. 

These investments will improve health outcomes for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, multiracial and other children of color in California. They will have a positive impact on historically marginalized groups such as children in immigrant families and LGBTQ+ children. 

TCP will continue to work with our partners using policy, research and community engagement to ensure that California is a state where all children can grow up healthy and thrive.

Read: TCP statement on the Governor’s January Proposed State Budget
Read: TCP statement on the Governor’s May Revise Budget Proposal