Governor Continues Strong Investments in Health Equity; More Action Needed to Address Racism as a Public Health Crisis

Author Details

Cassandra Aguilar

Communications and Events Associate

Organization: California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Sacramento, CA – The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network released the following statement in response to the Governor’s May Budget Revision (FY 2023-2024) from Executive Director, Kiran Savage-Sangwan. 

“As California faces a budget shortfall of $31.5B, CPEHN applauds Governor Newsom for maintaining commitments to strengthening Medi-Cal, particularly the expansion of eligibility for all income-eligible Californians, regardless of age and immigration status; as well as long-overdue investments to incentivize more providers for primary care, maternity care (including doulas), and non-specialty mental health services through the Managed Care Organization (MCO) Tax.  

The MCO tax investments to shore up the primary care, reproductive health, and mental health must include raising the base rates for Community Health Workers/Promotoras and Representatives (CHW/P/Rs). When Governor Newsom added CHW/P/Rs to Medi-Cal in 2022, he recognized the value of this essential workforce in improving the health of all Californians. However, the currently proposed rates are insufficient to robustly implement the benefit and ensure a living wage for CHW/P/Rs, and the continued delay in funding for education and training means a continued delay in unleashing the potential of this vital workforce.  

In an uncertain economic climate, it is imperative that we act to strengthen the community resources that prevent costly illnesses and advance racial equity. We are disappointed that the Governor once again failed to include dollars for the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund. This omission fails to acknowledge the value of prevention and the dire cost to California of continued racial injustice. 

Finally, we remain concerned about the diversion of the individual mandate penalty revenues. CPEHN supported the reinstatement of the individual mandate penalty in 2019 only with the understanding that revenues from this fund would serve to make health care more affordable and accessible for all. Instead of unjustly redirecting these funds, California must explore long-term and progressive revenue solutions that ensure the health and wellbeing of communities of color.”