Sample Letter to Legislators
Dear Senator/Assembly Member <Insert Name>:
We are writing to urge you to protect health care services to the uninsured and public health services as you deliberate the state budget in the coming weeks.
We strongly support the goal of enrolling millions of uninsured Californians in Medi-Cal by January 1. We appreciate Governor Brown’s continued commitment to timely implementation in California and his recognition that a state-based approach to Medi-Cal expansion is the correct course. Further, we appreciate that the Governor’s May Revise acknowledged that the redistribution of funds should be based on actual savings generated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rather than an arbitrary number.
However, we urge you to reject the Administration’s budget proposal to prematurely redirect hundreds of millions of dollars in county health care 1991 realignment funding, and to reject the proposed realignment of CalWORKs and other obligations to counties. These proposals not only jeopardize critical health care services for low-income Californians, but also threaten public health services that benefit everyone.
Successful implementation of federal health reform is a once in a generation opportunity to cover millions more uninsured Californians. In particular, the opportunity to expand Medi-Cal while receiving full federal funding for three years is unprecedented. This allows California some breathing room to accurately assess how many people will enroll in Medi-Cal and Covered California and exactly what level of savings counties might realize before redirecting funding away from county-based health care programs. It also gives us an opportunity to invest in strengthening local safety net programs, public health and behavioral health services that must remain in place to serve not only the remaining 3 to 4 million uninsured, but others who depend on community health programs such as trauma care, burn units, and other important local services.
The savings projected in the May Revision will not accrue immediately and the figures far exceed any anticipated savings that counties expect to achieve. Under the formula outlined in the May Revision, $300 million in county health care funding will be redirected in 2013-14, with more than $2.2 billion potentially redirected over the next two years. Redirecting this money now will force counties to cut critical public health and safety net services and will reduce funding available to care for the remaining uninsured.
For example in XX county, (insert local stats here about what realignment/redirecting of funds will mean for your county).
Because the state will receive full federal funding for three years, there’s no need to immediately redirect county health funds. The state should use that time to analyze actual data so we know how much counties will save, how much they will continue to spend caring for the remaining uninsured and what can be invested in strengthening the county safety net. We want to improve the health care system for all in California, not just maintain the status quo.
The May Revision also proposes a realignment of human services programs to counties that we urge legislators to reject. The Administration is intending to shift fiscal responsibility and risk for CalWORKs, including child care, and CalFresh administration to counties in 2016-17; counties would be at risk for caseload growth, future state and federal law changes and adverse court actions. Counties simply are not in a position right now to take on more programs, responsibilities and risk, especially when our health care systems are also undergoing dramatic changes.
We have been and remain good partners with this administration, with the Legislature and with you, (name of legislator).
We are hopeful that as we continue working with Governor Brown and the Legislature, we can come to an agreement that is both fiscally responsible and fulfills the promise of the Affordable Care Act.