Why a Blog?

HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

EXPANDED BLOG FOR EXPANDED DEBATE ON HEALTH REFORM
* Updated Daily With Latest Developments on California Health Policy
* Latest Reports About Governor’s Plans for 2007 Health Reform

Health Access, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, is pleased to announce that we are expanding the blog on our website to feature commentary, action alerts, and breaking news on a daily basis. In addition to these E-mail updates and alerts, we hope this provide real-time insight on the renewed health reform discussion in Sacramento, just as it heats up leading into 2007 and beyond.

In the past few days, we have just posted some reactions to what the several newspapers are reporting that Governor Schwarzenegger may be considering to unveil in a health proposal, including a Los Angeles Times overview, a San Francisco Chronicle article about prevention strategies, and a Sacramento Bee report about a potential attack on the HMO Patients’ Bill of Rights. We invite you to visit the blog, on a regular basis, at:
http://www.health-access.org/blogger.html

BLOG BACKGROUND: For the last five years, Health Access has produced the E-mail alerts and updates like the one you are reading now, reporting in a timely way the happenings in Sacramento regarding the health policy debate. Our purpose is not just to inform, but to provide a resource to help take action to help preserve and expand access to care for Californians. We hope they have been useful to your work.

These posts have gone to hundreds of staff members of coalition allies and membership organizations, community leaders, public policy experts, key activists, and others interested in working toward the goal of quality, affordable health care for all. They have also been archived on a blog at the Health Access website, at:
http://www.health-access.org/Sac_archives.htm

These posts document an important time in the debate over health policy, spanning over a major budget crisis as well as two gubernatorial elections, a recall election, a presidential election, and a special election. It saw the beginning of a debate over major health reform several years ago, which has continued to the present day. This debate has led to the passage of major bills that would have expanded coverage to workers and their families (SB2 in 2003), children (AB772 in 2005) and all Californians (SB840 in 2006), only to see them blocked by a Governor’s veto or at the ballot box. The archives detail many of the specific committee hearings, floor debates, and votes taken.

With this expanded blog, we are still committed to continue to send out these updates on a regular basis, to report on committee hearings, the progress of legislation or the budget, or other full-fledged updates. To sign up to get these E-mails, you can subscribe right from the Health Access website home page:
http://www.health-access.org/

THE NEW COMMENTARY: But in addition to these updates, we want to be able to share real-time information, the latest wonkish gossip going around the Capitol, to the reaction from the story in the morning paper, to highlighting a new study that provides new perspective on the debate of the moment. We want to help California organizations and individuals be engaged in this campaign for health care reform, and we hope to provide the tools to help.

As the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, our goal is to assist organizations in advocating for health care reform on behalf of their constituency. Some groups are focused on many other issues; others are local and are less familiar with the ways of Sacramento . Our hope will be to make the process transparent, and give the best sense of what the discussion is, and most importantly, where is there an opportunity for input and intervention. The point is not just to educate, but to activate.

We are unabashed in our perspective as advocates for health care consumers–the uninsured, insured, and underinsured–not from the health providers, insurers, or others from the health industry, or even that of a dispassionate observer. That’s our position as consumer advocates, as a coalition of community groups which have won the HMO Patient’s Bill of Rights to this years’ passage of bills to stop hospital overcharging and implement a prescription drug discount program. Our interest for this blog will be the same: How will these policy changes impact the patient, and the public?

YOUR HOSTS: The blog will be hosted by two Health Access staff members: Hanh Kim Quach, policy coordinator, as well as Anthony Wright, executive director. Hanh has extensive experience working for years as a newspaper reporter, most recently for a major daily covering the Statehouse, before joining Health Access. We expect she will use her journalism expertise to provide fresh insights and new information to the health policy debate, and most of all do so in a way that is understandable to those not immersed in the field. Anthony will bring his experience as a consumer advocate and organizer in California and other states, on health care and other issues.

As we develop the blog and our website further, we expect that we will have contributions from other Health Access staff, and guest blogs from our board members, and staff of member and allied organizations. We would love your input. Feel free to contact Hanh Kim Quach at hquach@health-access.org, or Anthony Wright at awright@health-access.org, with suggestions, ideas, or other thoughts.

NAME CONTEST: As we expand the blog, we are looking for a name for it, beyond the rather boring “Health Access Weblog.” Please send suggestions to hquach@health-access.org. The winning entry will get an as-to-be-determined prize, and the thanks of a grateful blogger.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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