API for CalCare Calls Upon CA Assembly Appropriations Chair to Advance AB2200

(The Assembly Committee on Appropriations is the second of seven hurdles that AB 2200 / CalCare must overcome to move forward in the legislative process. It must be removed from “suspension” and receive a simple majority “Yes” vote by May 17 in committee to advance to an Assembly Floor vote.)

api for calcare letterhead graphic

May 15, 2024

The Honorable Buffy Wicks
Chair, Assembly Committee on Appropriatiions 1021 O Street, Suite 8140
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: AB 2200 (Kalra), California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare) – SUPPORT

Dear Assemblymember Wicks,

Asians and Pacific Islanders for CalCare (API for CalCare) writes to you in strong support of AB 2200 (Kalra) California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare), urging you to pull AB 2200 out of suspension and vote YES by May 17 on AB 2200 to advance the bill to a CA Assembly floor vote.

API for CalCare is a statewide network of advocates for equitable healthcare for all. We support CalCare/AB 2200 single-payer healthcare reform to provide comprehensive and culturally competent healthcare to all Californians at lowered costs.

Like no other healthcare reform legislation in CA history, the policy framework of AB 2200 represents a bold vision for delivering healthcare coverage that is superior to that currently offered by private insurance corporations, covering dental/vision/hearing/long-term care/gender-affirming and culturally- competent care for less out-of-pocket costs for patients and employers. AB 2200 is the patient-centric healthcare reform that the majority of Californians support.

Because AB 2200 is a policy-framework-only bill, it has zero fiscal impact on the state budget.

AB 2200 is a policy backed by 22 research studies that will begin saving the state billions of dollars.(1) The Committee on Appropriations would serve future state budgets well by considering how our current healthcare system is unsustainably costly in its inefficiency and how savings to the state would be gained by eventual implementation of AB 2200.(2) AB 2200 is a jobs creator and economic stimulus bill that will reinvigorate CA businesses.

AB 2200 is the policy we need to pursue federal waiver conversations with the Federal government. It is the policy that legislators previous overlooked as a requirement of Federal law when the wasteful and redundant spending bill, SB 770, was passed.

Notably, for API for CalCare and members of other underserved communities, AB 2200 includes a comprehensive policy framework for addressing healthcare disparities.

Due to a variety of issues, despite progress in tiered coverage since the establishment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and subsequently, Covered CA, several Asian and Pacific Islander groups face not only higher uninsured rates, but unequal access to effective healthcare services. Uninsured rates for Koreans is one of the highest at 15%, and uninsured rates for Filipinos are also higher than average. Language barriers, underemployment and an overall lack of education about healthcare options contribute to these underinsured statistics.(3)

For many uninsured and under-insured victims of anti-Asian violence, which spiked in recent years when Chinese were scapegoated as the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, families of those suffering serious injury were forced to launch GoFund Me campaigns to cover expensive hospital costs. One in five Asian American adults of been a victim of a hate incident or crime.(4) AB 2200 does away with the need for desperate fundraising attempts by having a common CalCare Trust Fund share the burden of medical coverage for victims of violent hate crimes.(5)

Of Asians and Pacific Islanders seeking mental health support, 42% of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders and 31% of Asian American adults encounter barriers to access due to language, cost, and lack of awareness of limited provider options. AB 2200 will address structural and financing deficiencies in the mental healthcare infrastructure, by way of data collection and analysis of such(6) as well as considerations for a Special Projects budget(7) including capital investment in underserved communities.

Support for AB 2200 is a call for both social and healthcare justice. It provides an opportunity for legislators to confirm commitment to addressing the best interests of their constituents who desire single-payer reform. We again ask that you demonstrate the bold leadership that our communities need and vote YES on AB 2200 to advance it to an Assembly floor vote.


Linda Okamura signature

Linda Okamura
Asians and Pacific Islanders for CalCare

1 https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003013

2 https://www.chhs.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Key-Design-Considerations-for-a-Unified-Health-Care-System- in-California-Final-Report.pdf

 3 “Many AAPI groups have the highest uninsured rate in California,” https://asamnews.com/2022/01/26/covered- california-affordable-health-care-deadline-january-31-aanhpi-communities-have-highest-uninsured-rates/

4 “Piecing the Puzzle of AANHPI Mental Health: A Community Analysis of Mental Health Experiences of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in California,” P. 10, paragraph 1. https://healthpolicy.ucla.edu/sites/default/files/2024-02/final-chis-report-designed-2.26.24.pdf

5 AB 2200 Bill Text CHAPTER 3. Eligibility and Enrollment; 100630 (a) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202320240AB2200

6 AB 2200 Bill Text CHAPTER 6. Program Standards, Article 2. Health Equity; 100665 (a), (b), (c)(1)(2) https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202320240AB2200

7 AB 2200 Bill Text Article 2 CalCare Trust Fund; 100677. https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202320240AB2200

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graphic: Over 250 CalCare Endorsers as of 240522