Last month, Governor Newsom introduced his 2020-2021 State Budget Proposal. Overall, the total budget proposal encompasses $222.2 billion in programs and support, an increase of $13.2 billion from last year’s budget. In many ways, this increase is reflective of a doubling down of support and movement of key initiatives started in 2019 (e.g. expanding health care coverage, addressing the homelessness crisis) as well as an effort to protect Californians in advance of an anticipated recession.

Community Health Councils (CHC) has been diving into the details, engaging in conversations with partners, and reviewing various assessments of the budget proposal in order to understand and take stock of its potential impact on creating a “a better quality of life” as envisioned by the Governor.

Of most excitement is the numerous budget items that direct investments to strengthen support systems for low-income families, address inequities, and promote health and well-being of under-resourced communities. A few highlights in the budget proposal include:

  • Expanding Medi-Cal eligibility to all adults aged 65 and older regardless of immigration status, which would bring us one step closer to universal health care coverage
  • Bolstering supportive services for families to improve their financial stability, including increasing CalWORKs grants for working families with children, adding additional funds to the Emergency Food Assistance Program, and increasing the minimum wage to $14
  • A $10 million investment in adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) program for statewide training and awareness building initiatives, as well as adding 10,000 more slots toward universal preschool, continues to expand early childhood care and learning supports
  • Several investments in workforce development, especially in education and healthcare, which include $350 million to boost professional development grants for schools in high-need areas and $40 million for University of California schools (UCs) in the Central Valley around healthcare workforce development

There are also several new proposed agencies and strategic initiatives, that largely transform key public health systems. CHC will primarily be tracking the following:

  • The new Office of Health Care Affordability promotes greater transparency and accountability in health care costs, setting regional targets for costs and fining those in the health care industry that do not meet the targets
  • The proposed $695 million for Medi-Cal Healthier California for All is a multi-year initiative to improve the coordination and delivery of key health care services through Whole Person Care approaches and establish long-term solutions that support California residents regardless of federal policy changes
  • A new Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages, as well as the Future of Work Commission, will examine ways to broaden opportunity and better prepare the future workforce by modernizing worker safety-net protections and protecting the growth of good jobs across the state
  • A new Center for Data Insights and Innovation to leverage data and improve the operational use and quality of data, driving more evidenced-based program and policy reform

CHC will continue to monitor the budget, specifically the items outlined above, and advocate for more transparency and accountability in order to ensure that that our communities are positively impacted. Stay tuned for more updates!