State budget more closely honors will of Prop. 56 voters

Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Legislature engaged in heated negotiations before passing a final budget by a constitutionally mandated deadline of June 15. A major focus of those negotiations was the use of Proposition 56 tobacco tax revenues, for which CDA and its partners engaged in an internal and external advocacy campaign. This campaign resulted in a $30 million ongoing allocation to the state dental director’s office and an initial state allocation of $140 million for increased Denti-Cal provider rates (totaling nearly $400 million, including federal matching funds) with the potential for substantially more in future budget years. The budget also includes the full restoration of the adult Denti-Cal program beginning in 2018.

This budget investment was made possible by the passage of Proposition 56 last November. In an effort to expand the reach of dental care to some of California’s most vulnerable and underserved communities, CDA along with other health care providers and advocacy groups worked to pass this measure. Voters approved the additional $2 tax on tobacco products with the intention of funds going toward boosting reimbursements for medical and dental providers and improving access to care for the 14 million Californians enrolled in the state's Medi-Cal program.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s draft budget presented earlier this year ignored the will and intent of the voters and allocated all of the Proposition 56 funds to other priorities. Through direct advocacy to the Legislature and the Brown administration, CDA and its partners ensured that the state budget more accurately reflects the will of the voters and the intent of CDA’s membership in supporting Proposition 56.

CDA members are a valuable part of this direct advocacy effort. Hearing from providers allows legislators to more fully appreciate the dire consequences of not more adequately funding Denti-Cal. CDA along with coalition partners asked members to reach out to key legislators. At this writing, over 12,000 emails from CDA members and others have been directed to key decision-makers. This makes a difference in CDA’s work in the Capitol and will make a difference to those who benefit from the expanded care.

  • CDA will keep members informed about the developments with Denti-Cal and Proposition 56 funding on cda.org and in the CDA Update. To learn more about CDA’s advocacy work, visit cda.org/advocacy.

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CDA encourages dentists to share their opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal for Proposition 56 funds that voters intended to be used for improving access to care. CDA, the California Medical Association and coalition partners are strongly advocating for Proposition 56 funding to be used as voters intended. Dentists may have their voices heard by visiting www.protectmedi-cal.org and submitting a petition to state legislative leaders, who will make final budget decisions very soon.

CDA is excited to report that Proposition 56, co-sponsored by CDA to raise the state’s tobacco tax by $2, passed overwhelmingly in yesterday’s election with 62 percent of the vote. Winning a ballot measure campaign in California is a massive undertaking, especially with an opposition as powerful and well-funded as the tobacco industry.