Wednesday March 27
Senate Health Committee Room 4203
California Poll: Access to Mental Health Care, Insurance Coverage, and Affordability Rank among Californians’ Top Health Care Priorities for the New Governor and Legislature
Most Californians Say
Their Community Does Not Have Enough Mental Health Providers
Large Majorities across Parties Say Medi-Cal is Important to the State;
Most Residents Say Program is Important to Their Families;
Access to Care Remains a Challenge for Some Enrollees
Californians rank making health care more affordable among their top overall priorities for the state’s new governor and legislature, with 45 percent citing it as “extremely important,” just behind improving public education (48%) and ahead of affordable housing (40%), finds a new KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation)/California Health Care Foundation poll examining state health policy issues.
Among health issues, Californians’ top priorities are ensuring people with mental health problems can get treatment (49% say it is “extremely important”), making sure all Californians have access to health coverage (45%), and reducing what people pay for their health care (41%).
Mental health access ranks in the top two health priorities for Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. Half (52%) of all Californians say their community does not have enough mental health providers to serve local needs.
“We have never before seen the public place such strong emphasis on access to mental health treatment in our national or state polls,” said KFF’s President and CEO Drew Altman.
“There is a strong sense of urgency in these mental health findings,” said Sandra R. Hernández, president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation. “Californians are telling us loud and clear that more should be done to expand and improve mental health treatment.”
The poll also gauges Californians’ views on the Medi-Cal program and finds an overwhelming majority (91%) say Medi-Cal is “very” or “somewhat” important to the state, including large majorities of Democrats (97%), independents (90%), and Republicans (80%). About six in 10 Californians (59%) say Medi-Cal is personally important to them and their families.
The state-wide survey of 1,404 California residents was conducted before new Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his budget plan and priorities, which include proposals to expand health care access, affordability and coverage. Its findings highlight many of the challenges Californians face in these areas as the governor, legislature and other policymakers weigh potential solutions. For example:
- More than four in 10 Californians (44%) say they or someone in their household delayed or skipped medical care in the past year because of the cost. The share rises to more than half for people who are uninsured (54%) as well as those with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level (55%).
- One in five (20%) say they have had problems paying household medical bills in the past year. The share is higher among those who suffer from a debilitating health condition (34%).
- Worries about affording unexpected medical bills (63%) outrank worries about affording routine out-of-pocket medical costs (56%) and worries about affording other basic needs, including transportation (53%) and housing (52%).
- Most Californians (57%) say residents with mental health conditions are not able to get needed services, and nearly half (48%) say the same about people with alcohol and drug use problems. The share reporting lack of access is even higher among those who say they or a family member sought treatment for these problems in the past 12 months.
- Nearly a quarter (23%) of Californians say they had to wait longer than they thought reasonable to get an appointment for medical care in the past 12 months. This includes one in three (33%) Medi-Cal enrollees.
- Among those who say they or a family member sought treatment for a mental health condition in the past year, about a quarter (23%) say they had to wait longer than they thought reasonable to get an appointment for mental health care, a share rising to four in ten (42%) for Medi-Cal enrollees.
- In addition to half of Californians citing a shortage of mental health providers, about a third say their communities don’t have enough primary care doctors (35%) or specialists (33%) to serve local residents, and a quarter say they don’t have enough hospitals (27%). People living in the San Joaquin Valley and the Inland Empire are more likely than other Californians to say their local community lacks adequate numbers of providers.
- The poll finds Californians strongly support one potential idea for addressing regional provider shortages: a large majority (83%) say the state government should provide medical and nursing students with scholarships and financial help if they agree to work in areas with too few providers.
- Half (50%) of the uninsured in California say they have been without insurance for at least two years. The main reason people report for being uninsured is that insurance is too expensive or they cannot afford it.
- Worries about immigration status may also contribute to some uninsured Californians’ reluctance to seek coverage. Among the uninsured, 40 percent say they are worried that signing up for insurance could draw attention to their or a family member’s immigration status.
- Although ensuring access to insurance is a top priority for Californians, residents hold mixed views on establishing a single-payer health system in the state. About half the public (48%) favors such a plan, while four in 10 (40%) oppose it. Notably, six in ten California Republicans (62%) strongly oppose such a plan, while about half as many Democrats (32%) strongly support it.
Views on the Affordable Care Act and Covered California
Most Californians (58%) view the Affordable Care Act favorably, making the national health reform law somewhat more popular in California than the country as a whole. This may be largely due to the fact that California leans Democrat, and Democrats are more supportive of the law than independents or Republicans.
Most Californians (56%) also say the state-run health insurance marketplace, Covered California, is working well. This includes majorities of Democrats (70%) and independents (55%), but only a third of Republicans (34%).
Designed and analyzed by researchers at KFF and the California Health Care Foundation, the California Health Policy Survey was conducted from November 12-December 27, 2018 among a random digit dial telephone sample of 1,404 adults living in California. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by landline (476) and cell phone (928). The margin of sampling error including the design effect for the full sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based on subgroups, the margin of sampling error may be higher.
Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.
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Senator Beall has reintroduced SB 10, mental health services: peer, parent, transition age, and family support specialist certification
See News Release from Senator Beall’s office:
SACRAMENTO — On the opening day of a new legislative session, lawmakers from the Senate and Assembly gathered to call for action to stem California’s mental health crisis.
“It’s no secret that access to integrated mental health services and provider shortages plague our state, resulting in deteriorated mental health outcomes for all Californians,’’ said Beall, chairman of both the Senate Mental Health Caucus and the Select Committee on Mental Health. “The lack of integrated, accessible mental health services is one of the greatest humanitarian challenges we face and we must invest in mental health infrastructure to save many, many lives.
“Early access to treatment is key. Three-quarters of all mental health issues have their onset by the age of 24. Yet adolescents and young adults are the group least likely to receive mental health care. State Auditor Elaine Howle identified that counties have millions of dollars in unspent mental health funds and the state is projecting now a massive budget surplus. With resources available and the need for comprehensive mental health so great, the time for legislation and legislators to act is now.’’
“Joining Beall were John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), and Assemblymembers Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) and representatives from the Steinberg Institute, Mental Health America of California and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
This morning, Beall introduced three bills to increase and ensure mental health services and treatment:
SB 10 increases the effectiveness of mental health and addiction supportive services by establishing a state certification process for peer providers — people with lived experiences as family members, clients, or caretakers of individuals recovering from addiction or mental illness – who guide and help their clients.
SB 11 strengthens enforcement of state and federal mental health parity laws by requiring health care service plans and health insurers to submit annual reports to the state to determine if they are complying with parity laws. The information would be available to the public on the website of either the Department Of Managed Health Care or the Department of Insurance.
SB 12 declares the intent of the Legislature to amend the existing Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) to authorize the state and local governments to establish at least 100 drop-in centers to meet youths’ needs. They would be modeled after the headspace project, an Australian national network comprised of “one-shop stop’’ centers for youth to ensure they have the coping skills and a support system in place for a successful transition to adulthood. In California, 17 percent of high school students reported they have seriously considered attempting suicide; 9 percent reported they have attempted suicide one or more times.
The need for mental health treatment, therapy, and counseling is high in California. Only three out of four Californians who have mental health needs receive treatment.
The legislators made clear that California must eliminate gaps in the delivery of mental health services.
Sen. Moorlach called for connecting mental health services to young people. “I think with the Mental Health Services Act and all the funding that’s available, redirecting, giving more focus, and getting things moving is so critical. We can’t have $2.5 billion sitting in bank accounts languishing when we have so many families in need,’’ he said.
Arambula said, “Our foster kids who are exposed to more trauma than most should not have to deal with the crisis of the moment by being penalized and being sent to a judicial system that is not ready to process them. Instead, we should be meeting them where they are at by providing wrap-around services, a social worker and a crisis line.’’
Chu said he supports having at least one mental health professional on school campuses. “I believe the most central location to provide wrap-around services is at the school,’’ he said.
From Sally Zinman, Executive Director, CAMHPRO
Governor Brown has Vetoed SB 906. The consumer and larger mental health stakeholder community will pursue California state certification and, by all accounts, will have a better chance with a new Governor.
Persistence is the key to success, and essential to advocacy. Persistence and hope. We will have peer certification in California!
See the Governor’s veto message (below), which in my opinion, is not knowledgeable of the purpose or content of the bill.
Update SB 906 information. ON Governor’s desk. Officially received on September 12. He has a certain amount of days after he officially receives the bill to veto or approve the it. Only have about 10 days to influence the decision of the Governor. Write letters!
Contact Donna Campbell
Health Aide to the Governor email@example.com
Fax support for the bill to: 916-558-3177
SB906 Support Letter Sample Template 2.15.18:
This is a sample letter you can recreate and use for your own purposes. Send letters! Email Donna!
This is the BEST Validation for
CA Peer Support Specialists!
SB 906 passed out of the Assembly floor with a unanimous vote on Friday August 31.
Last minute amendments to the bill postpone the start dates and remove the unique peer billing option.
Now the bill requires the Governor’s Approval before it becomes law!
Contact Donna Campbell
Health Aide to the Governor firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax support for the bill to: 916-558-3177
SB906 Support Letter Template 2.15.18 : This is a sample letter you can recreate and use for your own purposes. Send letters! Email Diane!
CA Assembly Committee on Health
SB 906 Hearing Tuesday, June 19, 2018,
1:30 p.m. – State Capitol, Room 4202