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Health Equity Forum: Executive Director Article – July 2017
California Continues to Make Progress Despite Federal Health Care Fight
By Sarah de Guia, Executive Director, CPEHN
Thank you for your persistent efforts to fight for our health care! Despite the uncertainty around the future of health coverage, we have something to be proud of in California. We continue to lead the nation by protecting our children, seniors, and underserved communities. At CPEHN, we are thankful that our state leaders, advocacy community, and thousands of Californians have stayed strong and loud on the issues that are most important to our communities including health care, immigrant rights, climate change and economic justice.
This is evident in the Governor’s newly approved state budget (2017-18) which restores oral health care benefits in California’s Medi-Cal program for adults. During the recession, the state faced a severe budget shortfall and eliminated these services. We have heard horror stories from community members who had difficulty eating because they could not properly chew their food or went without treatment due to high costs. Together with community partners, we launched a successful campaign to advocate for the restoration of dental benefits, oral health care funding and awareness of the importance of oral health for our communities. In addition to oral health, we have also advocated for greater investments in immigrant health and Medicaid providers including providers of family planning services. While we didn’t get everything we asked for (Health4All young adults), we were heartened to see California continuing it’s forward thinking policies despite the political winds in D.C.
CPEHN is excited to take our work on health equity to the next level. One way we are doing this is by taking action to improve the oral health of all Californians, particularly low-income adults and seniors. In June, as the budget was being finalized we were thrilled to learn that CPEHN was selected to convene a California Oral Health Network to coordinate local, state, and regional health promotion efforts, while supporting implementation of the California Department of Public Health’s State Oral Health Plan. Please stay tuned to learn more in the coming months about the launch of the Network. Together we will help to improve oral health equity throughout California. We are excited to highlight the work of the Latino Coalition for Healthy California and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles in this issue.
These are just some of the ways CPEHN is staying loud and persistent in these uncertain times. We have ambitious plans for California but there is a lot at stake with national efforts to destroy the Medicaid program as we know it. Please join us in supporting health care by speaking out against short-sighted federal proposals like the Senate GOP proposal to eliminate $772 billion in Medicaid – which provides oral, mental, and primary care for millions of Americans including more than 14 million Californians.
Your voice, your vote, and your contributions all make a difference in promoting health equity. Your continued commitment is more important than ever. Please consider making a financial donation to CPEHN today to help us keep our communities informed, produce high quality research, and weigh in with policymakers.