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Capitol Notes

The elections are over, the Holidays have come and gone and the California Legislature is gearing up for a busy new year.

There are many needs facing our great state, and among those needs is how we can best provide access to quality healthcare to the millions of people who too often turn to emergency rooms for their medical services.

As the new Vice Chair of the Senate Health Committee, I look forward to working with our new Governor to create a healthcare system in California that focuses not just on people having insurance, but also one that provides for genuine access to quality care for the people who depend on government services. Millions of people depend on Medi-Cal for services, but the problem is that we have too few doctors able to take these patients because the reimbursement rates are simply too low.

With a projected budget surplus of $15 Billion, we have a tremendous opportunity to create a workable healthcare system that lets people receive the services they need without increasing costs to consumers. We can use the budget surplus to increase Medi-Cal reimbursement rates paid to doctors and healthcare providers so these professionals can afford to operate in our communities.

Over 10 years ago, the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate paid to healthcare professionals was cut – and that has resulted in many providers either going out of business or simply being unable to stay alive to keep providing the services that help our communities stay healthy. As Vice Chair of the Senate Health Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the medical industry to find a way to increase reimbursement rates to let doctors and medical professionals do what they do best – keep their patients healthy.

Here in Riverside County, we have several challenges that need the attention of the Legislature – we need more doctors in our community; we need more access to affordable and quality healthcare; and we need a system that lets medical professionals properly treat patients in our local neighborhoods.

As the Legislature gets to work over the coming months, I will be focused on working to create a healthcare system that is affordable for families, accessible to patients, and functional for the doctors, nurses, and medical professionals who work every day to provide the essential services to keep Californians safe and healthy.