The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) is encouraged by the Governor’s revamped efforts and renewed commitment to expanding healthcare and addressing the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on Latinx communities in light of the State’s $75.7 billion surplus.
Today, Governor Newson has put forth his revised proposal for the 2021-22 California State Budget. The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) is encouraged to see investments in COVID-19 relief to equitably address the disproportionate impact on Latinx communities as well as overdue investments that address community health. As we move forward in the fight against this pandemic and begin to recover, we are seeing a renewed commitment from the administration to address social, economic and health disparities.
The Governor’s commitment to expand health care access to seniors age 60 or older regardless of immigration status and to continue providing economic relief for low-income Californians prove to be a priority as this legislative session moves forward. LCHC urges the legislature to heed the Governor’s call, and use this moment to pass critical funding towards historically unaddressed inequities.
We remain encouraged by the Governor’s continued support of an equitable and preventative budget priorities to protect healthcare and public benefit programs, including:
- Health and Healthcare Access
- Heath4All Seniors aged 60 years and older regardless of immigration status (LCHC Priority)
- Over $1 billion in mental health system transformation (CalAim)
- $4.1 billion in Children’s Behavior Health
- Doula and postpartum Medi-Cal coverage investments
- Recognition and investments ($16.3 million increasing to $201 million by 2026-27) in Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the public health infrastructure (LCHC Priority)
- $315 million to support CalAIM implementation and health care equity
- Increase of Proposition 56 Supplemental Payments
- $12.4 million one-time investment in treatment and prevention of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
- $3.3 million General Fund ongoing to provide the Department of Aging policy, project management, and information technology leadership necessary to implement the Master Plan for Aging (LCHC Priority)
- $5.2 billion to cover 100% back rent for tenants
- $3.5 billion to end and prevent family homelessness
- Millions invested to address and prevent student homelessness
- Economic Relief
- $600 stimulus payments to middle and low income Californians
- $500 stimulus payments to ITIN number holders (LCHC Priority) $3.6 billion in additional investments that connect people with training, establish more quality jobs, and grow California’s workforce.
- $2 billion to get students back in school classrooms
- $7 billion investment to expand broadband infrastructure and enhance access (LCHC Priority)
- Investments to assist teachers with housing and school infrastructure
- May Revision proposes $1.3 billion in targeted investments for communities that are facing the impacts of climate change
- Community Resilience Centers—$150 million one-time General Fund for the Department of Food and Agriculture to support the development and enhancement of community resilience centers
- Investments in Climate Resilience and Emergency Preparedness
- Food and Food Access
- $68 million one-time General Fund to increase investments to improve access to nutritious, local, California-grown food
- Investment to support and expand Corner Store Healthy Refrigeration Program (LCHC Policy Priority)
- $2 million ($1.1 million General Fund) ongoing for the Department of Aging to continue CalFresh Expansion outreach efforts to older adults.
- $30 million investment towards Farm to School Program
Early this week, Governor Newsom announced a $75.7 billion budget surplus stemming from higher than projected tax contributions (among others). As a state, we approached last year’s budget with caution and concern, this year we have the responsibility to approach it boldly. This May revise reflects the administration’s movement towards equity is being taken into account with systemic policy solutions like Health4All Seniors legislation and additional investments for healthcare and social services for impacted communities. As the Legislature prioritizes its budget proposals, we must include long-term structural strategies like the establishment of a Health Equity Fund to address the social determinants of health by investing in innovative local public health departments and CBO partnerships to achieve health equity. We need our leaders to be on the same page and follow the lead the Governor has set out in this budget.
“Given this unprecedented budget surplus, we must continue to commit to protecting and investing in the health of our most impacted Latinx and immigrant communities. Health access for Seniors regardless of income or immigration status, equitable vaccine distribution, and expansion of crucial safety net programs such as direct economic relief including food assistance are all policies that will lead towards a just recovery for Latinxs Californians. These investments will fundamentally restructure the systems that have unjustly disenfranchised Latinos for far too long.” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, Executive Director, LCHC
We are nearing the end of the immediate disaster response and the budget surplus provides a window of opportunity to address issues that have been neglected for decades. We hope the members of this Legislature will join us in advocating for additional health services and efforts to address the social determinants of health in the final budget in order to build a more inclusive, equitable, and just health system for all Californians.
Founded in 1992, the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) is the only Latinx-led statewide policy and advocacy organization protecting and advancing Latinx health equity. We are a cross-sector coalition of community leaders, advocates, policy advisors, administrators and providers united by our common belief in protecting Latinx health and advancing health equity for all. Our work consists of community-centered programming, policy and advocacy development, and strategic communications.