Within the first few weeks of the new administration, there has been tremendous threats to our quality of life. We have seen a surge in actions against our healthcare, our education system and immigrants to name a few. We are afraid for our communities when it comes to whether or not they will have access to healthcare coverage and if their families will be able to stay together. We are challenged in new ways and we know this is just the beginning of a long battle ahead. CPEHN is committed to ensuring health justice and equity for communities of color and we refuse to give up.
We are thankful to our partners and other advocates who have been on the frontlines and have pushed back against the proposed changes by the new administration. The response to preserve the gains we’ve made has been incredible and shows our solidarity is strong. We are also grateful to our donors who support our efforts during this critical time. Specifically, we would like to thank California Health Care Foundation and Blue Shield of California for their generous grants. We are proud to be one of nine organizations to receive Act Now funding to continue to defend our healthcare. We look forward to our partnership with them.
Thank you to our members for staying engaged in the fight to defend our healthcare. Your efforts are paying off! The first two weeks of the new Trump Administration brought a brief reprieve from ACA repeal efforts as a leaked recording from a closed-door Republican retreat exposed divisions within the party over how to move forward. As Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif), California’s lone Republican lawmaker who voted against the repeal noted: “We’d better be sure that we’re prepared to live with the market we’ve created. That’s going to be called Trumpcare. Republicans will own that lock, stock and barrel, and we’ll be judged in the election less than two years away.”
The reprieve came at a high cost though as the nation was surprised and stunned by a pair of Executive Orders issued by President Trump to further militarize our southern border and scapegoat immigrant communities, particularly those from Muslim countries. These orders could have a chilling affect on immigrant communities who rely on critical health care services. CPEHN joined many other voices across the country in rejecting these punitive and divisive orders.
The past few weeks have been chaotic yet energizing as Congress started off the New Year with efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) along with the transition of a new Presidential Administration. Many thanks to those who have been engaged in ACA defense activities from visiting your Congressional representatives to participating in last weekend’s solidarity marches. Your voices are being heard throughout the nation!
And, there is still more work to do to defend our healthcare, protect our economic security and fight for the rights of all of our communities. CPEHN is actively engaged in the campaign to protect our health care and will be updating you with the latest ACA defense and policy developments.
Check out CPEHN’s new #ACADefenseHub to learn more about California’s #Fight4OurHealth campaign and how to get involved.
Re-Cap of ACA Repeal Efforts Here is a quick overview of past actions:
California’s Office of the Patient Advocate just released new 2016-17 health plan report cards to help guide and inform consumers as they shop for coverage during the open enrollment season which is set to begin: November 1, 2016.
The report cards rate California’s 10 largest HMOs, five largest PPOs and over 200 commercial medical groups on quality and patient experience. In addition, county-level ratings of medical groups with newly added cost ratings are also included. This on-line tool makes it easier for employers and consumers to make side-by side comparisons for choosing the right plan.
What do the Report Cards Measure?
OPA uses data from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a non-profit that that works to improve health care quality through the administration of evidence-based standards, measures, programs, and accreditation. To arrive at these ratings NCQA analyzes scores on clinical performance and patient satisfaction data.
Our biennial conference Voices for Change: Seizing the Momentum for Health Equity is a month away! The speakers and workshops are set, and CPEHN is busy preparing for a fantastic day of dynamic discussions with our friends, colleagues and allies. We see our statewide conference as the time for us to step back and reflect on our unified goals for the health of our communities across California. As a conference attendee, you will be the first to receive a copy of our report called, The Landscape of Opportunity - Cultivating Health Equity in California. This labor of love is published every three years and we are excited to share our third edition of the report with you!
The Landscape of Opportunity uses current data and research to examine health across a broad spectrum of factors and social conditions. Inequities in socioeconomic status, education, the physical environment and access to resources can limit our ability to achieve optimal health. Throughout the report, we describe the complex relationship between structural factors and health outcomes. Building on CPEHN’s 25 years of advocacy, the Landscape of Opportunity proposes a policy framework for health equity focused on creating just systems and structures for better health.
One of the ways CPEHN participated in National Minority Health Month in April was by co-hosting a panel of experts with the Asian Pacific Islander Capital Association to discuss the status of health equity among the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. The experts highlighted various approaches we can all take to eliminate health disparities disproportionally affecting certain API communities.
What are the barriers keeping communities from achieving a healthy community?
“You can’t fix what you don’t know,” proclaimed Jonathan Tran from The California Endowment. He was referring to the lack of information and data available regarding South East Asian communities. Before funding and resources can be streamlined into building a healthier community, access to comprehensive data must exist. Since data regarding Asian Americans is characterized for as a whole, research studies are limited in their ability to accurately identify information about the issues affecting specific Asian American subgroups. When all communities are counted for and validated, the numbers can be used to implement change. The AHEAD Act — AB 1726 — addresses this necessary concern by requiring higher education institutions and public health agencies to disaggregate data for additional API groups.
Many Californians face huge challenges in accessing substance use treatment services. Social and environmental factors including low socioeconomic status, low literacy, unemployment, discrimination, and other factors negatively impact our ability to lead healthy lives. Many people of color and Limited English Proficient populations additionally face a lack of culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services. Further, stigma and discrimination linked with accessing services also remain barriers to accessing treatment for many, especially those with previous criminal justice involvement.
California’s Medi-Cal 2020 1115(a) Waiver Demonstration Project provides new opportunities to expand substance use services to include a fuller continuum of care that includes withdrawal management, medication-assisted treatment, short-term residential, case management and care coordination with physical and mental health, and recovery support services. Drug Medi-Cal eligibility also expands to include single adults without children, which mean more people are able to receive substance use treatment services than ever before.
To address these barriers and disparities, communities of color – those most in need of services – need to be involved in the development and design of treatment options, and policymakers must consider the root causes of substance use disorders in vulnerable and underserved communities. That’s why CPEHN is engaging our communities to get involved so that the needs of underserved communities are included and addressed in the implementation of these new services. With stakeholder input from underserved populations, county departments of behavioral health can better meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
Come out and Support the Oakland Sugar Sweetened Beverage Distributors Tax at the May 3rd Oakland City Council Meeting!
On May 3rd, the Oakland City Council will vote on placing a Sugar Sweetened Beverage Distributors Tax on the November 2016 ballot. The Rules and Leg Committee voted unanimously on April 7th to bring the measure to the full council. Over 35 speakers signed up to talk and displayed an amazing show of support. In an emotional ending, Councilmember Larry Reid shared the recent loss of his young nephew to complications from undiagnosed diabetes, as well as his and his family’s history with diabetes. He shared he used to drink soda like water, before he knew the detrimental effects. This tax measure will help raise awareness, decrease consumption, and provide funding for community programs that combat the impact of sugary drinks. The City Council needs to vote YES to place it on the ballot!
The measure is supported by the Coalition for Healthy Oakland Children, a broad coalition of concerned public health professionals, elected officials, parents, faith and community leaders and concerned residents pulling together to address the diabetes crisis and other chronic diseases related to sugary beverages, and to improve health through education and the passage of health policy. While the industry is worried about their profits, coalition members are worried about the health and future of our next generation.
Two important bills are being heard soon and your voice is needed to make sure they get through the first policy committee. Send your letters of support TODAY to urge the Assembly and Senate Health Committees to pass these important new policies: