May 2, 2022
Weideman Group Weekly
Senate Budget Blueprint
State Senate leaders released their budget priorities blueprint “Putting Wealth to Work” yesterday. The blueprint accounts for an estimated $65 billion in additional, surplus revenue based on projections from the Legislative Analysts’ Office, that the Senate proposes be utilized to fund their priorities. Highlights include bringing the state’s reserve up to $43.1 billion, a $200 rebate per taxpayer plus $200 for dependents, a grant program for paid sick leave, $2 billion for construction of behavioral health beds, a $20 billion four year package for general infrastructure, $3.2 billion for higher education deferred maintenance, and more. The release of the Senate’s blueprint comes a couple of weeks before the Governor is set to announce his May Budget Revision. The Legislature is required to send the Governor a budget bill by June 15th, but negotiations and agreements on additional budget items will likely bleed into the end of session. More details on the senate proposal can be found here.
Under the threat of a looming and costly ballot fight, an agreement has been reached to raise the limit for medical malpractice awards. Under the deal to reform the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA), pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases that do not involve a patient’s death will be capped at $350,000 and will increase over the next 10 years to $750,000. In cases that do involve a patient’s death, the limit is increased to $500,000 and will increase over the next 10 years to $1 million. After 10 years, both of these caps will increase by 2% annually to adjust for inflation. The current cap of $250,000, which was hashed out via the infamous “napkin deal” at Frank Fat’s restaurant in Sacramento, has been in place since 1975.
Healthy California For All
The Healthy California for All Commission has submitted its final report to Governor Newsom on universal healthcare coverage. The report focuses on a unified financing source for health care, but does not endorse a full blown single-payer system. The report also directs the Administration to engage with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to potentially redirect billions of federal Medicaid dollars, which will be a lengthy and complicated process. Advocates for a single-payer healthcare system criticized the report saying it does not go far enough. The full report can be found here.
This week marked the last days for policy committees to hear bills that are keyed fiscal. After a marathon of committee hearings, hundreds of bills were either passed out of committees or are now considered dead for the year. Committees will have until May 6th to hear and pass onto the floor any remaining non-fiscal bills and the appropriations committees will dispense with bills in their jurisdiction by May 19th.