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"
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!
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 California State Senate began its floor session today passing SB 4, the Health for All Act authored by Senator Ricardo Lara, on a bipartisan 28-11 vote. The vote marked a great step toward achieving access to health care for all Californians, regardless of immigration status.
In a press release issued shortly after the vote, Senator Lara commended his colleagues for giving members of one of the state’s most vulnerable populations a better chance to live healthy lives:
“Today’s vote is a transformational and decisive step forward on the path to achieving health for all. Over the past year I’ve worked to draft a bill that is realistic, balanced and fiscally prudent, while arriving at our goal of expanding access to health care for some of our most vulnerable communities. That’s what we’ve achieved with SB4 – allow undocumented Californians to purchase health insurance through a waiver, cover all children and establish a capped enrollment program for adults.”
With just two weeks remaining until the Legislature’s June 15 deadline for passing a budget bill, state policymakers are at odds over whether — and by how much — California should boost funding for an array of health and human services in 2015-16, the fiscal year that begins this coming July 1.
Relying on projections from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, lawmakers assume that the state will receive about $3 billion more in revenues in 2015-16 than Governor Brown estimates. In separate budget plans adopted last month, the Assembly and Senate each committed to using a large share of these additional dollars to strengthen services and supports that are largely targeted to individuals and families with low incomes. In some cases, the two houses adopted a unified position that conflicts with the Governor’s approach. In other cases, the Assembly and Senate are divided. These differences will be aired and ironed out through the two-house budget conference committee process that gets under way today.
The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) is hosting our first advocacy day at the Capitol on April 28th. We invite partners and friends to join us in Sacramento to advocate for four priority bills that will help improve the health of our communities across California. We will be visiting legislators to discuss:
AB 1321 (Ting) aims to create access to fresh, California-grown fruits and vegetables for low-income families.
AB 1357 (Bloom) will increase access to clean drinking water and generate support for community-based diabetes prevention programs.
SB 4 (Lara) will extend access to health care for all regardless of immigration status
SB 23 (Mitchell) will generate critical support through CalWORKS for families with small children.
The day will be an opportunity to learn more about LCHC’s policy agenda and participate in fun events, but we’ll also break up into small groups so that we can prep participants on how the legislative advocacy process works and ensure that everyone feels confident speaking with their representatives. We hope you’ll join us for this important day!
We need your support to ensure consumers are informed about their health insurance benefits and know what doctors and hospitals are in their networks. Urge the Senate Committee on Health to pass legislation requiring translation of a health plan's summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) and ensuring provider directories are accurate and up-to-date. Please send in your letter of support for SB 388 (Mitchell) and SB 137 (Hernandez).
SB 388 (Mitchell) requires a health insurance plan’s SBC to be translated into non-English languages consistent with California’s existing language access requirements for other vital documents and would require the California Department of Managed Health Care and the California Department of Insurance to make available translated templates of the SBC on their websites. Download a sample letter of support for SB 388.
SB 137 (Hernandez) creates standards for provider directories and requires regular updates so that they include accurate information about which doctors and hospitals are in a patient's network and the languages spoken when shopping for coverage or seeking care. CPEHN is co-sponsoring this legislation with Consumers Union and Health Access. Download a sample letter of support for SB 137.