Strengthening Our Health Care System

August 12, 2004 As part of his commitment to protect California’s most vulnerable citizens, the Governor secured $1.7 billion in new federal assistance for seniors receiving In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS); the funds allow 66,000 aged, blind, and disabled residents to continue receiving IHSS through the Independence Plus Waiver.

September 29, 2004 To improve quality of care in California nursing homes and to secure better wages for caregivers, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1629, increasing Medi-Cal reimbursement rates in skilled nursing facilities.

November 2, 2004 Governor Schwarzenegger championed passage of Proposition 71, the Stem-Cell Research Initiative, and with voter approval California became an international leader in stem-cell research. Proposition 71 directed $3 billion to stem-cell research and created the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). As a result of this initiative, California provides more funding for embryonic stem-cell research than anywhere else in the world, and attracts nearly half of the nation’s biotechnology venture capital, creating thousands of new jobs in the state every year.

October 5, 2005 The Governor negotiated the first of two sweeping agreements with the federal government to support safety-net hospitals and vital health services through Medi-Cal. This first waiver brought the state $3.3 billion in new federal funds.

January 17, 2006 To ensure that people eligible for both Medi-Cal and Medicare continued to receive drug coverage for those medications not covered by Medicare’s Part D program, the Governor secured $100 million and proposed the California Rx plan to provide affordable prescription drugs to uninsured Californians.

March 28, 2006 The Governor secured $450 million in new federal funds for the state’s program that provides prenatal care for eligible pregnant women. This new federal funding allowed the state to maintain support for many essential health care services.

July 20, 2006 While funding of stem-cell research under Proposition 71 was delayed by litigation, Governor Schwarzenegger authorized a $150 million General Fund loan to CIRM to keep stem-cell research going. This loan came at a critical time, following President Bush’s veto of federal funding for stem-cell research. This funding allowed California to claim its place on the international stage as a leader in cutting-edge stem-cell research.

July 24, 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger put California on the map as a national leader in the health care reform debate by convening the first Summit on Health Care Affordability. The Governor brought together for the first time experts from various fields—including academia, government, business, health care, and labor—to discuss California’s health care cost and coverage challenges. “The spiraling cost of health care is nearing the crisis point—not just in California but across the nation,” the Governor said.

July 25, 2006 The Governor signed Executive Order S-13-06 to protect insured Californians from being charged for the disputed difference between their provider’s bill and their health insurance coverage.

August 18, 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 1448, a bipartisan health care coverage initiative drawing down $540 million in federal funding to test innovative strategies for providing health care coverage to low-
income uninsured residents.

September 8, 2006 The Governor released the California Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan and convened a pandemic influenza summit that encouraged and promoted the preparedness of all levels of government, communities, and businesses.

September 14, 2006 The Governor signed SB 162, creating a new, stand-alone Department of Public Health, to focus on public health and prepare for wide-scale health threats. As a result of this early leadership, California was recognized as a national leader in responding to the spread of the H1N1 virus in 2009.

September 29, 2006 Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 2911, landmark legislation creating a prescription drug discount program for residents. The program provides 40 to 60 percent savings on prescription drugs under the Medicare Part D program for uninsured seniors in California.

January 8, 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger introduced the boldest, most comprehensive health care reform plan in the nation. The Governor’s proposal—which included a requirement that all individuals obtain health insurance, a ban on insurance companies denying or dropping coverage, tax subsidies to help middle- and low-income individuals afford health insurance, and incentives for prevention—put California on the map as a leader in the national debate on health care reform in 2009.

May 30, 2007 The Governor and Canada’s Premier of Ontario announced the creation of the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, which coordinates and funds ongoing stem-cell research in Canada and California.

September 26, 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 491, which added two Alzheimer’s disease patients to the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee. The bill also required the committee to collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders, to review current state policies and practices concerning treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, and to develop specified recommendations relating to Alzheimer’s care in the state.

September 30, 2008 The Governor signed legislation to protect consumers from aggressive billing practices by hospitals and insurance companies, and from “rescission,” whereby insurance companies drop coverage after an enrollee becomes sick. At the Governor’s direction, the California Department of Managed Health Care reached groundbreaking agreements with all of the state’s major health plans to reinstate coverage to Californians whose health care coverage had been rescinded.

September 30, 2008 The Governor signed groundbreaking legislation to protect patient privacy in California. The bills, SB 541 and AB 211, subject hospitals and individuals to penalties for breaching patient privacy and increase the fines for errors in patient care.

May 2009 Governor Schwarzenegger became the first Republican governor in the nation to announce his support for federal health care reform efforts.

September 22, 2009 By signing AB 1422, the Governor prevented nearly 700,000 children from losing their state-provided health insurance through the Healthy Families Program and allowed the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board—the agency that oversees the state’s Healthy Families Program—to open the program to new enrollment. During his administration, the Governor implemented changes that helped achieve a record enrollment of more than 900,000 children in the Healthy Families Program.

November 19, 2009 Governor Schwarzenegger successfully negotiated with the University of California and Los Angeles County to reopen Martin Luther King Hospital as a private, nonprofit hospital governed by an independent board. Reopening the hospital was critical in ensuring that the South Los Angeles community has access to medical services and quality health care resources.

January 19, 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger’s Department of Managed Health Care set regulations that made California the first state in the nation to shorten the time a patient has to wait to see a doctor.

September 29, 2010 The Governor announced an aggressive plan to implement federal health care reform in California, pledging to ensure that the state receives the resources and flexibility it needs to deliver on the promise of quality health care for all.

August 17, 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger announced the launching of the country’s largest dedicated tele-health network, which will enhance access to health care services and improve the quality of care for Californians.

September 30, 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger made California the first state in the nation to implement health care reform by signing legislation to create the California Health Benefit Exchange. AB 1602 and SB 900 established an insurance exchange that will help California consumers and small businesses shop for affordable health insurance starting in 2014. Governor Schwarzenegger also signed a number of bills implementing provisions of federal health care reform.

• SB 1163 or Health Insurance Rate Review, which provides greater transparency about premium rates charged by health plans.

• SB 1088, which allows individuals to remain on their parents’ plan until age twenty-six.

• AB 2244, which prohibits insurers from denying coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition.

• AB 2345, which requires health plans to cover preventive services, such as mammograms and vaccines, without co-pays or deductibles.

• AB 2345, which protects patients from having their coverage illegally or unfairly rescinded.

October 19, 2010 The Governor signed SB 853 to reauthorize the skilled nursing facility reimbursement methodology and AB 1629 to establish the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality and Accountability Special Fund.

October 25, 2010 The Governor achieved a milestone in implementing federal health care reform by opening California’s Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) for enrollment. The PCIP was one of the first major provisions of national health care reform to take effect and is designed to bridge the gap between now and 2014, when insurers will no longer be allowed to decline health care coverage or charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing conditions.

November 2, 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger announced federal approval of California’s “Bridge to Reform” Medicaid waiver, to help California prepare for and implement new federal rules that will take effect in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The waiver strengthened the state’s hospital safety net and delivery system and brought in an anticipated $10 billion in federal resources to expand health coverage and improve care for low-income uninsured residents and vulnerable populations.