Skip to main content

Assemblymember Arambula Reacts to the 2023-24 State Budget that Includes Expanding Medi-Cal; Preserving Investments in Health and Human Services Programs; and Earmarking $250 Million for Downtown Fresno

For immediate release:
  • Felicia Matlosz
  • 559-304-9286

FRESNO – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) today responded to the State’s $310 billion budget for 2023-24 and the impact it will have on the 31st District that he represents and beyond.

“Given the economic uncertainties that face our State and nation, this budget ensures that California continues its commitment to equity and access so that all Californians can be uplifted. It takes into account fiscal responsibility but recognizes the need to address serious issues, such as access to health care, housing, child care, and education.

“I’m also grateful that Governor Newsom and the Legislature agreed to invest $250 million in downtown Fresno infrastructure improvements over the next three years to boost economic development. I’ve fought hard for Fresno County and the Central Valley to receive their fair share of resources and am excited to see this one is coming to fruition.

“As an ER physician and Chairman of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services the past several years, it’s been a priority for me to champion access to health care for our most vulnerable and underserved people. I’ve worked with determined advocates to achieve these life-changing measures. The State budget honors the commitment to expand full scope Medi-Cal to income-eligible adults ages 26 to 49, regardless of immigration status. This is the last age group to obtain this coverage, coming after we successfully advocated for these changes for children and seniors.

“The State budget includes extending the MCO (Managed Care Organization) tax through the end of 2026, which will increase payments to doctors and other Medi-Cal providers. I’m also pleased that agreement was reached on lowering out-of-pocket costs for people enrolled in Covered California to make it even more affordable. The budget also addresses the need to broaden efforts to provide mental health care services to our youth and older adults, who have suffered with stresses and isolation stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget also bolsters support for the general well-being of our older adults and the disabled through increased funds for programs and resources.

“We’ve also worked to help low-income families who are still struggling from the impact of the COVID pandemic. A temporary increase in CalWorks benefits will become permanent for recipients. In a related effort, I and other leaders and advocates have been working on reimagining CalWorks to focus on families first and to remove the harsh penalties that are inequitable.

“In addition, a federal waiver stemming from the COVID pandemic is about to end in September. The State will eliminate most of the copayments that poor families pay for child care. I and other advocates also want to ensure that people struggling with food insecurity can access some relief, so this budget extends the CalFresh Fruit and Vegetable EBT Pilot at a time when federal funding is ending. It ensures that every Californian can put healthy food on the table.

“I also want to note a particular program that I’m proud to support. The budget allocates $10 million for Promotoras de Salud, a program of trusted partners who ensure that everyone – regardless of language barriers – can access the health care services they need.

“As Chair of the Health and Human Services subcommittee, it’s been important to me and my fellow subcommittee members to safeguard the programs and services that help our most disadvantaged and underserved Californians forge a path to a better quality of life. We have focused on the ambitious plan to merge physical health, mental and behavioral health, and social services through CalAIM (California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal).

“And, there are so many other programs in place to address other needs, ranging from workforce development in the medical field to ensuring that equity is at the forefront of the programs we provide.

“Finally, I want to express my deep appreciation to every advocate, assemblymember, legislator, staff member, and – most of all – member of the public who has taken the time to tell me what’s important to them in moving our State forward. I value every word of input and am grateful to Speaker Anthony Rendon for having confidence in me to chair a subcommittee that oversees one-third of the State Budget. It has been a humble privilege to serve California in this position, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for ALL people who call California home.”