California Budget Deal Would Expand Funding for Children’s Hospitals

California Budget Deal Would Expand Funding for Children’s Hospitals

The California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Travis Gillmore
Travis Gillmore


Updated: 6/26/2024


The budget agreement announced June 22 between California Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders includes $115 million for children’s hospitals.
The governor had included the spending in his May budget proposal.
“In California, our children are not just our future—they are everything to the families that love them and the friends who play next to them,” Mr. Newsom said in a June 25 press release. “For the children suffering from the worst and most serious illnesses, we must support the hospitals that give them a fighting chance to live and thrive.”
The agreement will allow the state’s Department of Health Care Services to provide funding to California hospitals treating children who are critically ill or fighting life-threatening diseases.
If one of two identical budget trailer bills that include the agreement, Senate Bill 159 and Assembly Bill 159, is approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor before the end of June 27, proponents of a children’s health care initiative eligible for the November ballot would pull the measure, according to the governor’s press release.
“I’m pleased we were able to provide this additional financial assistance and avoid a costly ballot initiative,” the governor said in the press release.
The key proponent of the measure said the agreement will benefit families in California by utilizing federal dollars to support health care providers and those in need.
“State government leaders asked children’s hospitals to think outside the box to maximize the use of federal money to achieve our goal of extending lifesaving care to more critically ill children,” Ann-Louise Kuhns, president and CEO of the California Children’s Hospital Association, said in the governor’s press release. “We have found the best path to do so with less stress on the state’s budget for public health, public safety, public education and public infrastructure.”
The agreement would expand the state’s Children’s Services Program by establishing a payment reimbursement mechanism requiring Medi-Cal to pay children’s hospitals for services provided to low and middle-income families.
Beginning no sooner than July 1, the plan would appropriate $115 million annually to the Health Care Services Department to support payments.
If voters approve a separate ballot measure—the “Protect Access to Healthcare Act,” which would make permanent taxes on health insurance plans and require the money be used for Medi-Cal expenses—the agreement would allow the department to reduce reimbursements.
The Health Care Services Department declined to comment.
According to the bills, the intent of the Legislature is to augment payments to children’s hospitals, not replace the reimbursements paid by Medi-Cal managed plans or the Health Care Services Department.
With hours to go before the secretary of state’s deadline, SB 159 is moving through the Legislature after being withdrawn from policy committees by the suspension of Assembly Rule 96 on June 25.
The measure is awaiting a third reading in the Assembly and subsequent vote, which is on the agenda when the chamber resumes June 26 at 5 p.m.
If the Assembly approves the bill, it will next be considered by the Senate as soon as June 27.
All budget related bills are being fast-tracked by the Legislature to meet the end of the fiscal year deadline which occurs on July 1.
Additionally, other bills which could result in ballot measures being pulled—including one related to the Private Attorney General’s Act reform initiative—are expected to be heard by the Legislature June 26-27 to beat the constitutional deadline.

Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.