Advocacy Alert: California After School Programs, Opioid Prevention, and Medi-Cal Reimbursement
July 26, 2018
AB 1744: After School Programs
California residents: there are some bills winding its way through the state government we'd like to draw your attention to.
On January 3, 2018, Assemblymember Kevin McCarty introduced AB 1744. Titled "After school programs: substance use prevention: funding: cannabis revenue", this bill would amend and add various sections of the Education Code, as well as amending Section 34019 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to after-school programs.
Current law has established the After School Education and Safety Program, where participating public schools can receive grants to operate before- and after-school programs. This bill would specifically authorize the inclusion of substance use prevention education in these programs. AB-1744 is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
While on the surface, this sounds like a good idea, the bill would be using funding from the cannabis tax. These funds should go to substance use disorder issues as a whole, and not into funding for programs where substance use disorders are just a tiny component.
BHAP opposes this bill, as we feel it is a misuse of the cannabis tax. We encourage those based in California to contact Assemblymember McCarty and express your concerns about the funding for this bill.
AB 2486: Opioid Prevention
On February 14, 2018, Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty and James Gallagher introduced AB 2486. Titled "Opioid Prevention and Rehabilitation Act", this bill would add Division 10.4 to the Health and Safety Code and make an appropriation.
The bill, if passed, would require a manufacturer or wholesaler that sells or distributes opioids in California to submit a report that would detail opioid drugs sold or distributed during the preceding fiscal year. Commencing with the 2020-21 fiscal year, the bill would also require the department to calculate what share said manufacturer or wholesaler would pay. The bill has passed onto the Senate and is currently in the Senate Health Committee.
BHAP has no official position on this bill, as there seems to be some issues defining substance use disorders. We urge you to reach out to your representative and remind them that opioids don't operate in a vacuum, and substance use disorders should be funded as well as opioid rehabilitation.
AB 1963: Medi-Cal Reimbursement
Finally, on January 30, 2018, Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty, Brian Dahle, and Marie Waldron introduced AB 1963. Titled "Medi-Cal: reimbursement: opioid addiction treatment", this bill would add Section 14105.197 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, as it relates to Medi-Cal.
The bill, if passed, would require the State Department of Health Care Services to increase the Medi-Cal provider reimbursement rates for various opioid addiction treatments. It currently is still in committee in the Assembly.
BHAP is in support of this bill, as increased provider reimbursement helps treatment centers. We urge you to reach out to your representative to show your support of this bill.