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A Review of Child Care and Preschool Program Flexibilities in Certain Counties

May 13, 2021 - In this post we provide background on child care and preschool program flexibilities that have been granted to certain counties. We then assess these flexibilities and provide issues for the Legislature to consider in deciding whether to maintain flexibilities.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Analysis of the Governor’s Medi-Cal Telehealth Proposal

May 13, 2021 - This budget series post provides an overview of the Governor’s January budget proposal for an ongoing, post-pandemic Medi-Cal telehealth policy; an assessment of the Governor’s proposal; and issues for legislative consideration.

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Impact of COVID-19 on Health Care Access

May 7, 2021 - This post describes how coronavirus disease 2019 has affected access to health care in California through the earliest months of 2021. Contrary to expectations in light of the high level of pandemic-induced job losses, we find that health care coverage has either remained steady or potentially increased during the pandemic. We explore reasons why health care coverage trends have defied expectations. However, health care employment and utilization both declined significantly, particularly in the early months of the pandemic. Although access to care is trending toward pre-pandemic levels, continued monitoring of these trends is warranted. We provide several policy options that the Legislature could consider for sustaining and improving access to care, such as funding or making policy changes to address a deficit in children’s preventive services that has arisen among Medi-Cal-enrolled children during the pandemic.

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COVID-19: American Rescue Plan’s Major Health-Related Funding Provisions

May 6, 2021 - On March 11, 2021, the President signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP Act)—a $1.9 trillion coronavirus disease 2019 relief package. This post highlights the health-related provisions of the ARP Act that provide significant funding directly to state/local health care and public health agencies, rural hospitals, home- and community-based services programs, subsidized individual market health coverage programs, and public behavioral health services. Where possible, based on currently available information, we provide an estimate of the funding allocations to California governments and other entities in the state. While this post reflects our best understanding of the high-level content and implications of this legislation as of late April, we will update the post as new information and clarifications become available.

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Estimated Cost of Expanding Full-Scope Medi-Cal Coverage to All Otherwise-Eligible Californians Regardless of Immigration Status

May 5, 2021 - This budget and policy post responds to legislative requests for our office to estimate the costs of expanding comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage to all otherwise eligible Californians regardless of their immigration status. We estimate that nearly one million undocumented immigrants would gain full coverage under this expansion. Assuming a January 1, 2022 implementation, we estimate that the additional cost of expansion would be $790 million General Fund ($870 million total funds) in 2021-22. On an ongoing basis, we estimate the additional cost of the expansion would be $2.1 billion General Fund (nearly $2.4 billion total funds). Both our caseload and cost estimates are subject to significant uncertainty and rest on a number of key assumptions. Moreover, our ongoing estimates would be expected to change over time with medical inflation and changes in caseload and utilization.

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Third Round of Federal Higher Education Relief Funding

May 3, 2021 - The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is the third piece of federal legislation that provides substantial COVID-19 relief funding directly to colleges and universities. This post recaps the key elements of the first two rounds of relief funding, then describes the key elements of this third round.

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Overview of Federal Relief for K-12 Education and Child Care

April 29, 2021 - Since March 2020, the federal government has passed three relief packages that assist K-12 schools and child care providers in their response to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. This post provides a brief summary of how the three federal relief packages affect K-12 education and child care and describes how the state has used these federal funds, as of April 2021.

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The 2021-22 Budget: The Governor’s Proposition 2 Proposals

April 26, 2021 - This post provides an overview of the Governor’s proposals related to Proposition 2 (2014). We provide background on how the measure works, and then summarize and comment on the Governor’s Proposition 2 reserve and debt payment proposals.

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Early Budget Actions to Support In-Person K-12 Instruction and Address Learning Loss

April 23, 2021 - On March 5, 2021, the Governor signed Chapter 10 (AB 86, Committee on Budget), which provides additional one-time Proposition 98 funding to schools for providing in-person instruction and addressing student learning loss due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. This post describes the major components of the legislation.

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Enhancing Federal Financial Participation for Consumers Served by the Department of Developmental Services—An Interim Update

April 19, 2021 - The Supplemental Report of the 2020-21 Budget Act requires our office to evaluate options for enhancing federal financial participation through Medi-Cal for consumers served by the Department of Developmental Services. This post provides an interim update of our initial findings and preliminary assessment. A final report will be delivered to the Legislature in the late summer.

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Adoption of April 2021 Wildfire and Forest Resilience Early Action Package

April 16, 2021 - On April 13, 2021, the Governor signed SB 85 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review), which amends the 2020-21 Budget Act to provide additional funding for various wildfire and forest resilience activities. This post provides a brief summary of this funding package.

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Tax Credit Expansions in the American Rescue Plan

April 13, 2021 - The federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) that passed on March 11 expanded a number of federal income tax credits. This piece will briefly describe the changes to three credits that apply to many lower-income and middle-income filers: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and the Child and Dependent Care Expenses Credit (“child care credit”). We also discuss changes to the dependent care exclusion which is linked to the child care credit.

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The 2021-22 Budget: “Cradle to Career” Data System

March 26, 2021 - Provides background on process to date toward creating an integrated education data system and other related data tools (collectively referred to as the "Cradle to Career" data system), describes the Governor's proposals to fund the development of specific components of this system, assesses these proposals, and makes associated recommendations.

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The 2021-22 Budget: Assessment of CalHEERS Dashboard

March 25, 2021 - Supplemental report language adopted by the Legislature in 2020-21 directed our office to provide an assessment of a new dashboard developed by the administration for Medi-Cal eligibility functionality issues in the California Healthcare Eligibility, Enrollment, and Retention System—an information technology system. This post provides our assessment of the dashboard and associated process changes, and identifies opportunities for legislative oversight going forward.

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Flexible Funding to California in the American Rescue Plan

March 23, 2021 - This post is our initial overview of the federal fiscal relief funding California is expected to receive from the American Rescue Plan.