Save Our Seniors Network Legislative Liaison Director Ruscal Cayangyang testified in support of AB 1400 in Sacramento on Jan. 11 before the Assembly Health Committee.

SACRAMENTO — At its first State Capitol hearing of the 2022 legislative session, the Assembly Committee on Health considered a dozen bills over the course of a seven-hour hearing on Jan. 11. Save Our Seniors Network Legislative Liaison Director Ruscal Cayangyang was on hand to testify in support of two SOS priority bills.

Assembly Bill 1400, “Guaranteed Healthcare for All,” a bill to ensure comprehensive universal healthcare, including all elderly care and homecare to all Californians, “head-to-toe and cradle-to-grave” based in the fundamental principle that “healthcare is a human right,” passed out of the Assembly Health Committee after three hours of testimony with a vote of 11 in favor, 3 against and 1 abstention.

The “CalCare” bill was initiated by the California Nurses Association (CNA) and supported by Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago, Wendy Carrillo and other local representatives. Together they represent Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and the Asian communities of LittleTokyo, Koreatown, Chinatown and Historic Filipinotown. It was introduced by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose).

AB 1400 would eliminate the costly patchwork of employer-based healthcare and multiple private and profit-making insurers and merge the current fragmented Medi-Cal system in favor of a comprehensive, single-payer, state-run system. In addition to lower costs overall, if enacted, AB 1400 would provide for essential multilingual and culturally appropriate healthcare by prioritizing capital investment in underserved communities. 

For-profit institutions such as Pacifica, as part of the CalCare program, would no longer be able to make profit by decreasing the quality or quantity of healthcare. Reimbursements to nursing homes would no longer be lower than Medicare. The bill would eliminate the discrimination against low-income Medi-Cal residents and guarantee bilingual, bicultural care. 

Assembly Bill 1502, the “Skilled Nursing Facility Ownership and Management Reform Act of 2022,” confronts the dangerous operation of California skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) lacking proper licensure. A current weakness in state licensing authority has allowed unscrupulous and unsuitable “chain” operators to acquire dozens of SNFs that continuously operate under “interim management agreements,” arrangements that — although currently legal — can sometimes go on for years, putting the most vulnerable institutionalized seniors at risk. 

AB 1502, introduced by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), would end such agreements and make other major industry reforms; the bill, sponsored by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), passed on a committee vote of 12 for and 2 against.

Both bills now advance to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and face a Jan. 31 deadline for consideration on the Assembly floor. Save Our Seniors Network will continue to monitor both bills through the legislative process. For more information and how to get involved in supporting these vital healthcare reform measures, visit https://saveourseniors.network/

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