Californians have a number of reasons to celebrate these days, particularly the victory of Health4All Kids. But even with this accomplishment, there is still work to be done to make sure that Health4All becomes a reality.
In the 1960’s, President Lyndon Johnson kicked off the original Health For All efforts with the War on Poverty. It gave us Medicare, Medicaid, and helped us establish a nation-wide network of community clinics and health centers, whose mission was to provide care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
Despite the odds, obstacles and budget cuts, these determined non-profit health centers endured, and in fact, they grew. Passionately dedicated to their mission, they built a system of health care one patient and one community at a time.
Today, community clinics and health centers, referred to as CaliforniaHealth+, operate more than 1,100 health centers and serve more than 5.6 million patients each year - that’s 1 in 7 Californians! They live at the heart of our communities and provide care in a way that respects the culture, tradition, and values of those they serve.
The report focused on California’s experiences during the first full year after implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion. Focusing on those who have gained coverage either through Covered California or an expanded Medi-Cal program, the report examined the state’s health care system after roughly 4.4 million people have enrolled in coverage in the two programs. Using results from a comprehensive survey, the report found that those with insurance were more likely to use it, but the newly insured had more trouble than the previously insured navigating how to use their coverage. Additionally, almost half (47%) of those newly enrolled in Covered California reported having difficulty affording their monthly premiums, compared to 27% of those who were previously ensured prior to 2014. The report also found that community clinics and health centers are increasingly relied upon by the uninsured and newly insured.