HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2005

MAY IS A MONTH OF DEADLINES, ACTIONS, AND EVENTS

  • Budget: May Revise on Friday the 13th; Many Actions and Rallies Planned Against Cuts
  • Bills: Legislation Must Be Released by Fiscal Committees by May 27th & Voted on Floor by June 3rd
  • Ballot Measures: One More Week to File Ballot Measures for Potential Special Election in November

In the many fights to preserve access to care, expand coverage, and provide consumer protections, health advocates have a number of deadlines to meet, hurdles to overcome, and actions to organize in the month of May.

BELOW is a selected list of events of interest for health advocates. This includes activities related to this week’s “Cover the Uninsured Week,” briefings and conferences on key issues, and rallies to protest budget cuts impacting seniors, immigrants, children, women, parents, mothers, and other important constituencies. A full calendar of events for May is available on the Health and Budget Advocacy Calendar on the Health Access website, at:
http://www.health-access.org/calendarhome.htm

Major decisions will be made in May that will have significant impact on health policy and politics:

BALLOT BOX: The Secretary of State has indicated that this Friday is the last day that signatures can be filed in order to have ballot measures ready for a potential November special election. While there may be some wiggle room on this date, we will soon know what a November ballot might look like. The Governor will still have another month to call a special election; if none is held, those measures that have been filed will appear for the next election, which would most likely be the June 2006 primary election.

As of this writing, signatures have only been filed for two measures, one regarding parental notification for abortions, and another to restrict the ability of public employee unions to raise political money. However, many others initiative seems poised to be filed: allies of Governor Schwarzenegger have been collecting signatures on other measures, including a spending cap that would give the Governor unilateral powers to make cuts in health and other vital services. Health Access California has a measure to provide prescription drug discounts, and other consumer groups also have other measures for a car buyer’s bill of rights and electric reregulation. For more information on the prescription drug ballot measure, go to:
http://www.health-access.org/providing/ourx.htm

BILLS: Most of the good bills of interest to health advocates have now made it through the various policy committees, such as Assembly Health, Senate Health, and Senate Insurance Committees. Most of these bills are now or will be “on suspense” in Assembly or Senate Appropriations Committee. As part of the legislative calendar, they will need to be released from Assembly or Senate Appropriations by May 27th. In order to continue in the legislative process for this year, these bills need to pass the house of origin, the full Assembly or Senate, by June 3rd. For more information on bills of interest to health advocates, visit the website at:
http://www.health-access.org/advocating/2005_bills.htm

BUDGET: Advocates for health and other vital services are awaiting Governor’s Schwarzenegger’s revision of the state budget. This “May Revise” is scheduled, ironically, for Friday the 13th. Governor Schwarzenegger is expected to stick by most of the planks of his “Medi-Cal Redesign” plan, including premiums, caps on dental benefits, and mandatory managed care. He also is expected to provide more detail on the proposed hospital financing waiver. After May Revise, the legislative budget committees will work quickly to vote to support or oppose different budget proposals, racing to the June deadlines for passage of a budget.

EVENTS OF NOTE FOR HEALTH ADVOCATES

Below are selected events of interest to health advocates, but there are many more, from the Older Women’s League (OWL) Mother’s Day event on May 5th, to the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Better Choices for Children Day on May 25th. More information on these and other events is available at:
http://www.health-access.org/calendarhome.htm

* WEDNESDAY, May 4: Stand For Children – Parent Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Parents, children and supporters throughout California convene at the Capitol to advocate for the protection of child care funding in hopes that all families will have access to affordable, accessible, quality child care services. Please visit their website at: http://www.parentvoices.org. Time: 12:00pm – 3:00pm, Location: Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA. Sponsored by Parent Voices and the California Child Care Resource and Referall Network.

* WEDNESDAY, May 4: Cover the Uninsured Week Rally. Cover the Uninsured Week will present at the San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network (SD-KHAN) Collaborative Meeting about the campaign and provide updated information on the uninsured in San Diego. At the end of the meeting, attendees will be asked to sign a large proclamation demonstrating their support for finding a solution to the uninsured problem and will be given commitment bracelets, information resources and stickers. Target Audience: The SD-KHAN Collaborative includes individuals and organizations from throughout San Diego County who are concerned with access to care and coverage. Time: 3:00pm – 4:30pm Location: Bayside Community Center, 2202 Comstock St., San Diego, CA. Sponsored by the SD Kids Health Assurance Network (SD-KHAN)

* THURSDAY, May 5: Hearing on Alta Bates & Summit. Vote Health has joined Assemblymembers Chan, Hancock, Klehs, and Torrico co-sponsoring a public hearing next week about the situation at Alta Bates and Summit hospitals, where the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation found a number of violations at these Sutter-owned facilities earlier this year. Please consider coming to the public hearing to learn more about how this may affect access to health care in Alameda County. Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm Location: Scottish Rite Temple, 1547 Lakeside Dr, Oakland, CA. Sponsored by Vote Health, Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington, and the Berkeley Gray Panthers.

* FRIDAY, May 6: Cover the Uninsured Week Interfaith Prayer Breakfast (Hayward). Learn about health insurance needs in Hayward Find resources for obtaining health insurance coverage Become part of a movement to enact new health coverage policies. Time: 7:30am – 9:00am, Location: St. Rose Hospital Pavilion, 27200 Calaroga Ave., Hayward, CA. For more information, please contact Marion DePuit at MDePuit@strosehospital.org or 510 264-4125. Sponsored by Community Healing Network and St. Rose Hospital Health Ministries.

* FRIDAY, May 6: Cover the Uninsured Week, Faith Leaders Prayer Breakfast with Elected Officials (Long Beach) State Senator Alan Lowenthal Assemblymembers Betty Karnette & Jenny Oropeza Invite you to a Faith Leaders Breakfast & Discussion in Honor of Cover the Uninsured Week.Time: 7:30am – 9:00am, Location: St. Mary Medical Center Health Enhancement Center, 1050 Linden Ave., Long Beach, CA. For reservations, please call 1-888-4-ST-MARY or 1-888-478-6279. For more information, please contact Rachel Plotkin Monda at rplotkin@chw.edu or 562-491-9066. Sponsored by St. Mary Medical Center.

* TUESDAY, May 10: United for a Fair Budget Rally. A noon-time rally (and picnic lunch) jointly organized by several groups who have their own lobby days that day, including anti-hunger advocates, working families, immigrants, seniors, people of faith, people with disabilities, and many other Californians. Time: 12:00pm – 12:30pm, Location: Capitol Building: West Capitol Steps, Sacramento, CA. Sponsored by CA Assoc of Food Banks.

* SATURDAY, May 14: Cover the Uninsured Week, Advocacy Conference. Being the Good Samaritan: A Health Care issues briefing for people of faith. Hands on resource materials and workshops for congregations featuring Karen Bass, Assemblymember, John Glaser, Center for Healthcare Reform, and Doris Nelson, Health Care for All. Time: 8:30am – 2:00pm, Location: Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. For more information, please contact Mary Pinkerson at mary.pinkerson@stjoe.org or 714-347-7749, Rev. Kathy Cooper-Ledesma, (323) 256-3162, Kathy@calchurches.org. Sponsored by California Church IMPACT, California Council of Churches, Southern California Ecumenical Council, Progressive Christians Uniting.

* TUESDAY, May 17: California Office of the Patient Advocate Annual HMO Consumer Advocacy Symposium: “The Big Picture: Focusing on Diverse Communities In Managed Care” For more information and to register, please visit: http://www.opa.ca.gov/. Time: 8:00am – 4:30pm Location: Marriott Hotel, LAX, Los Angeles, CA. Sponsored by the CA Office of the Patient Advocate.

* WEDNESDAY, May 18: 35th Annual Senior Rally to Emphasize Special People, Not Special Interests. The Senior Rally is a 35-year tradition that brings together as many as 1,500 active and civically-involved seniors and persons with disabilities from Northern California to advocate on behalf of critical issues at the State Capitol. Every year there is a different theme, depending on the business before the legislature. This year, the theme is: Special People, Not Special Interests. Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm, Location: West Steps of the State Capitol. Sponsored by Congress of California Seniors, CARA, AARP.

* THURSDAY, May 19: Medicare-MediCal Rx Changes for Disabled. Learn about Medicare for People with Disabilities. Learn about Medicare’s new Prescription Drug Benefit – Part D. Learn about the elimination of Medi-Cal drug coverage and the conversion to Medicare Part D; help providers understand enrollment process. Help identify issues of concern for people with disabilities; learn about current advocacy efforts. Guest Speaker – Bonnie Burns, California Health Advocates Click here to download flyer and registration form (MS Word Doc) Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm, Location: St Mary’s Cathedral – 1111 Gough St. San Francisco, CA. For more information, please contact Laura Ware at 415-546-1305 or laura@senioractionnetwork.org. Sponsored by Senior Action Network – SF HICAP, Self Help for the Elderly – San Mateo HICAP, Legal Assistance for Seniors – Alameda HICAP, San Francisco State University School of Public Health, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

* FRIDAY, May 20: ¡Adelante! Strengthening Latino Advocacy in the Bay Area. The event will bring together Latino serving non-profit organizations, local elected officials and community members from around the Bay Area, to share information and develop new advocacy strategies for addressing policy issues in the fields of Education, Health and the Environment. Time: 9:00am – 2:00pm, Location: First Unitarian Church, 685 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612. You can visit www.lif.org to obtain a registration form to fax.

* MONDAY, May 23: Immigrant Day. Celebrate contributions to California’s economy and culture at the 9th Annual Immigrant Day. Join hundreds of immigrants and advocates in raising our voices on behalf of immigrant families throughout the state. This year’s state budget proposal once again places the burden of addressing the state’s budget crisis on working families. The Governor has targeted families who receive work supports through CalWORKs, In Home Supportive Services, child-care workers as well as critical health care and human services for low-income families. Time: Agenda: 9:00am – 10:00am, Advocacy Training for Southern CA participants: 10:00am – 12:00pm, Rally: 12:00pm – 2:00pm, Lunch and Legislative Visits, Location: West Steps of State Capitol Building, Sacramento, CA. Sponsored by the California Immigrant Welfare Collaborative (CIWC)

* WEDNESDAY, May 25: Sabbath Economics: In Search of a Moral Economy. Morning speaker on faith values and tax equity; workshops on taxes; faith in action on children’s health care; cost of corrections vs. rehabilitation; worker-faith justice; family economic self-sufficiency. Time: 8:00pm – 3:30pm Location: St.John’s Lutheran Church, 17th and L streets, Sacramento, CA.

* WEDNESDAY, May 25: A Step Towards Technology…A Leap for Language Access. Come join Alameda County Medical Center and SF General Hospital in celebrating over 20 years of language services and the new horizon of innovative technology in medical interpretation, the Video-Conferenced Medical Interpretation (VMI) Program. Time: 5:00pm Location: Alameda County Medical Center, Highland Hospital, Oakland, CA. Sponsored by ACMC and SFGH.

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