CSAC Bulletin Article

Health and Human Services

Senate and Assembly Health Committees to Hold Joint Hearing

Next Wednesday, March 4 the Senate and Assembly Health Committees will hold a joint hearing to explore the subject of Medi-Cal rates and whether they ensure sufficient access to care. The meeting will be held in the State Capitol, Room 4202. Additional information will be posted on the Assembly Committee on Health website.

Hearing on the Misuse of Psychotropic Medication in Foster Youth

On Tuesday, the Senate Human Services Committee and Select Committee on Mental Health convened a Joint Oversight Hearing on the misuse of psychotropic medication in foster youth. The hearing consisted of four panels:

  • Psychotropic Medication Use in Foster Care;
  • State and Legal Oversight and Response;
  • Local Systems of Oversight and Care; and
  • Innovative Models in the Continuum of Care.

Senator Mike McGuire, Chair of the Human Services Committee, affirmed his commitment to continuing this discussion later in the year. Hearing materials can be found on the Senate Human Services Committee webpage.

Assembly Budget Sub 1 Explores Poverty

On Wednesday, Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services convened a hearing on the topic of poverty. The hearing included three panels:

  • State Strategies to Reduce Poverty;
  • CalWORKs Budget and Program Review; and
  • CalFresh Budget and Program Review.

In addition to subcommittee members and panelists, the hearing welcomed remarks from Assembly Member Stone (author of EITC bill – AB 43), Assembly Member Weber (chair of the full Assembly Budget Committee and former Assembly Budget Sub No. 1 Chair) and Secretary Dooley (Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency).

Chair Weber spoke to poverty being a priority focus for the Assembly, and we anticipate further discussion surrounding poverty during the legislative and budget sessions. Hearing materials can be found here .

Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released a report: “ Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States ”, addressing the shortfalls in the current poverty measure and explores the use of a new poverty measure – the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM, created by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2011, measures the impact of social services programs and accounts for rising costs and changes that affect a family’s budget. Because of this, the SPM provides a gauge of the effectiveness in government programs. The full report is linked above.

Open Enrollment Extension Period

Open enrollment for Covered California health insurance plans continues for consumers that were unaware of the tax penalty for remaining uninsured in 2014. This special open enrollment period is from February 23 – April 30, which follows a previous five day extension. Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee believes that up to 600,000 Californians could face 2014 tax penalties.

During the November 15 through Feb 15 open enrollment, more than 354,000 individuals enrolled in coverage through Covered Californa.

LAO Report on Workforce Education and Training

The Legislative Analyst’s Office prepared a report on Workforce Education and Training. This report was presented to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee for Thursday’s Oversight Hearing on Investing in California’s Workforce. The report provides an overview of the State’s Workforce Programs and spending, highlights strengths and shortcomings of the Governor’s proposals, and provides recommendations to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.

Those recommendations include:

  • Funding an adult education block grant with modifications (included in the report)
  • Strengthening the Data and Accountability System for Workforce Education and Training
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