CPEHN Executive Director Sarah de Guia appeared on National Public Radio (via Bay Area affiliate KQED) to discuss the report and the impact the ACA has had in our state:
"This is really great news for California," said Sarah de Guia, executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, an advocacy group. She spoke of people being lifted from the fear of paying for care. "There's this sense of relief, that they're not one accident or incident away from bankruptcy. ... They can keep their costs contained."
Over 100 advocates from across the state gathered at the Sierra Health Foundation in Sacramento earlier today for CPEHN’s sixth Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in a Post-ACA California convening. The event, co-hosted by OnTrack Program Resources, highlighted a number of topics that impact health in California’s communities of color, including health care quality, behavioral health integration, and access to health care for the remaining uninsured, particularly undocumented immigrants.
After the popularity of our events in Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside, we were invited by OnTrack to continue the discussion in the state capital. The event began with a presentation by CPEHN Executive Director Sarah de Guia that touched on each of the event’s topics.
She focused on how communities of color, who represent a majority of the state’s population, have the most to gain from successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She also pointed to the increased enrollment of Latinos and African Americans during Covered California’s second open enrollment period as a sign that the law’s programs are starting to have their intended impact.
With last month’s Supreme Court ruling affirming that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is here to stay, advocates and decisionmakers can turn to building on the law’s success, such as closing the Medicaid gap, improving the value of care, and eliminating the “family glitch.” Another top priority in this next phase of health reform is making good on the promise of health care for all, regardless of immigration status. This includes the approximately 11.2 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in our country.
The effort to expand access to affordable health coverage for California’s immigrant population is in full gear this week as Senator Ricardo Lara has been traveling the state to promote SB 4, which takes a strong step toward covering all Californians by expanding access to Medi-Cal to all children regardless of immigration status. The bill also allows undocumented immigrants to purchase coverage through Covered California, which they are currently prohibited from doing.
Senator Lara’s Health for All Statewide Community Tour kicked off in Oakland last night along with Assemblymember Rob Bonta at Asian Health Services. Senator Lara will be traveling throughout the summer legislative break to rally support for his proposal and to build awareness about the expanded coverage options for undocumented children, which will begin in April 2016. SB 4 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations committee when the legislature reconvenes in August.
Community and organizational support at last night’s press conference and community meeting demonstrated the imperative of covering the state’s immigrant population.
Assemblymember Bonta discussed his family’s recent immigration history as one of the main reasons why he’s working on SB 4.
The California Assembly Health Committee took another important step to increasing access to health coverage to all children in the state regardless of immigration status by passing Senator Ricardo Lara’s SB 4. The bill passed along party lines, with Democratic members in support and Republicans in opposition. The committee also passed one of CPEHN’s co-sponsored bills, SB 137 (Hernandez), which would enhance consumer protections by improving health plan’s provider directories. This important bill received bipartisan support.
The hearing began with Senator Lara explaining the benefits of his bill, which would expand access to full-scope Medi-Cal to all children regardless of immigration status and allow California to apply for a waiver through section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act allowing undocumented adults to purchase coverage through Covered California. He talked about the tremendous community support he’s received while working on Health for All legislation over the last two years.
.@SenRicardoLara starting things off wi SB4 #health4all "met with 100s of people shared heartbreaking stories challenges faced w/o coverage"
Please join us at the latest event in our Focus on Equity series! After successful events in Fresno, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, and most recently Riverside, we are coming to Sacramento in July.
The Affordable Care Act has changed the landscape of health coverage in California. With over 3.5 million now enrolled, the state’s uninsured rate continues to drop. However, persistent health disparities remain among communities of color, immigrants, and Limited English Proficient populations. We are continuing to work to address these inequities, and you can help develop solutions at Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in a Post-ACA California in Sacramento on July 27th.
During the event, join the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and OnTrack Program Resources, Inc., to discuss opportunities to advance health equity both locally and statewide on:
Equity in health care access
Health for All efforts to provide health coverage to immigrants
In this year’s budget, the state invested $40 million to expand health care coverage to undocumented children, but the fight to expand health care coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status, is far from over. SB 4 establishes critical infrastructure that sets the foundation for full expansion of health care coverage in the future. Download and send in a letter of support for SB 4 today!
Today, California took an important step towards making affordable health care more accessible. The budget deal announced this afternoon includes a $40 million investment in Medi-Cal to enable all low-income children, regardless of immigration status, to access comprehensive health coverage. This budget shows that the Governor and legislature understand that immigrants are vital members of our state and that all children have a right to be healthy. The momentum is on our side, and today’s deal motivates us to continue supporting proposals, including SB 4 (Lara) the Health for All Act, to ensure that Californians of all ages, regardless of immigration status, have access to affordable health care through Medi-Cal and Covered California.
Additionally, we are looking forward to the special session on the Medi-Cal program, which now provides health coverage to nearly 12 million recipients, a majority of whom are from communities of color. Although more Californians are covered under Medi-Cal than ever before, many patients are struggling to find providers and specialists in their area. Having coverage means very little if there are no available providers and restoring reimbursement rates could help increase access to vital health care services for our communities throughout the state.
The special session on transportation and infrastructure is also a critically important opportunity for California to identify how to invest in more integrated strategies to promote clean, active transportation.
Over 50 advocates joined CPEHN, the California Partnership, and the Community Clinic Association of San Bernardino today in Riverside for Focus on Equity: Communities of Color in a Post-ACA California. The event was a continuation of CPEHN’s Focus on Equity convening series and gave residents of the Inland Empire the opportunity to hear about ongoing efforts to meet the health needs of their communities and both local and statewide advocacy opportunities.
The event focused on how to address the inequities that still remain after more than 3.5 million have enrolled in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Like our previous events in Oakland, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego, this convening focused on three main issues:
Health for All efforts to provide health coverage to immigrants
Integration of behavioral health and primary care
Equity and health care quality
CPEHN’s Sarah de Guia started the day with a presentation framing the key health issues facing communities of color in Sacramento.
Maribel Nunez from the California Partnership followed with a presentation about the state budget process and how communities can get involved to ensure funding for critical health and human services programs.
The coverage expansions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have dramatically reduced California’s uninsured population. Before the ACA, 6.5 million Californians lacked health insurance coverage. By 2019, that number will be cut in half, but there will still be between 2.7 and 3.4 million uninsured. Communities of color will represent 87% of those remaining uninsured.
But there are efforts to ensure coverage for the remaining uninsured. Earlier this week, we saw SB 4, the Health for All Act, which would be a great step toward covering all Californians, advance off the Senate floor. And also this week, the Blue Shield of California Foundation announced a new funding opportunity, “Moving Toward Comprehensive Coverage Programs for the Remaining Uninsured.”
“In this Request for Applications, Blue Shield of California Foundation aims to support communities in evolving their county programs to more closely mirror comprehensive coverage like Medi-Cal and the former Low Income Health Program. This involves redesigning or developing new programs that emphasize prevention, primary care, and health management for California’s remaining uninsured, inclusive of undocumented immigrants.”