Last week, Planned Parenthood affiliates from all over the country converged on the nation’s capitol for Planned Parenthood’s National Conference. It was a whirlwind week for our California group while we stayed focused on key healthcare access issues and advocating for women's health among all the travel with packing, flights, meetings, trainings, and adjusting to the timezone change!
While the conference is made up of many components, the main event was Tuesday, March 17 on Capitol Hill for Planned Parenthood’s national lobby day. Our national lobby day is an opportunity to meet with our members of Congress an advocate with them about critical women's health issues that impact California and beyond.
Understandably, this year’s meetings focused on how to fix the negative impact to healthcare access caused by California's low provider reimbursement rates in the Medi-Cal program. Both the Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates and the primary care provider rate bump – a product of the Affordable Care Act that expired at the end of 2014 and that change has had a serious impact on the ability for Californians covered by Medi-Cal to access health care.
Photo: Senator Barbara Boxer meets with Planned Parenthood staff and volunteers from California.
Specifically, we discussed the dichotomy of California’s health care system. In some respects the state is at the forefront of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); California has built a robust health care exchange and millions of eligible Californians have enrolled. But in other ways our state is falling behind; particularly when it comes to our Medi-Cal reimbursements rates which remain one of the lowest in the nation - 49th to be exact.
With the millions of new enrollees, these low rates are making it increasingly difficult for the newly insured to get the care they need. A health insurance card is rendered meaningless if there aren’t enough health care providers to see patients. At Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, we are dedicated to increasing access to quality care. With the changes brought on by the ACA, it is becoming even more apparent the critical role that Planned Parenthood plays in providing reproductive health access and care to women and men in California.
That is why Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California supports SB 43 and AB 366 by Senator Ed Hernandez and Assemblymember Rob Bonta respectively. These bills seek to create a robust provider reimbursement system in California to ensure the long-term success of the ACA.
From patients to providers, reimbursement rates are going to make the difference between success and failure of this new health care landscape. Stay updated on these and other issues by joining our email list today!
Reporting from DC's trip,
Erica on the PPAC Legislative Team