HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

CALENDAR OF EVENTS OF INTEREST FOR HEALTH ADVOCATES

  • Citizens’ Health Care Working Group: LA this Sat, March 4th; Sac on Wed, April 19th
  • Other Forums for National Health Care Reform
  • Leg Hearing on High-Deductible Plans, Medi-Cal Anniversary, CPEHN Convenings, etc

While the conversation in Congress is often more about cutting care than expanding coverage, there have been new signs of increased organizing and activity around expanding affordable and high quality health coverage, locally, statewide and nationally. National attention is starting to be focused on major health reform, through a number of different vehicles.

Several events of interest to health advocates are coming up in the next month or so, and listed here are a few highlights. This information, and other events, is listed on the Health and Budget Advocacy Calendar, at the Health Access website at:
http://www.health-access.org/calendarhome.htm

Of particular note is a community meeting this SATURDAY, MARCH 4th:

CITIZENS’ HEALTH CARE WORKING GROUP: In January, a panel of 15 federally-appointed members began gathering public input on how to improve the nation’s health care system. Input from community meetings held nationally, from January to April, will serve as a basis for recommendations to decisionmakers in Washington , D.C. on improving the health industry. These forums are interactive, with participants engaging in small group discussions and responding to a series of questions. The process, which is independently administered, will produce recommendations to the Congress and the President, and be the subject of Congressional hearings.

Hundreds of Californians are expected to take part in one of the “signature” events THIS SATURDAY, MARCH 4th, from 8:30am to 4:00pm, at the Los Angeles Convention Center ,
1201 South Figueroa Street, LOS ANGELES. For more information, call 1-800-679-3684, or go to the website at: http://www.citizenshealthcare.gov.

Health advocates and organizations are mobilizing to turn out their members, to involve them in the debate, and help influence the outcome. For more information about these efforts, contact Norma Martinez-HoSang, Health Access, at 213-748-5287, or nmartinez@health-access.org.

A similar hearing will be in SACRAMENTO on WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19th. For information about turnout efforts there, contact Jessica Rothhaar, Health Access, at 510-873-8787 x107, or jessicar@health-access.org.

HEARINGS ON UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE: Other national efforts are explicit about supporting universal, single-payer health care proposals, such as H.R. 676, by Rep. John Conyers. A series of Citizens’ Congressional Hearings have been organized around the country on this proposal, which have included ones in Marin, Los Angeles , and San Jose , with leadership from California Nurses Association, Health Care for All – California , and others, including Health Access California .

Another such hearing, styled as a “Citizens’ Hearing & Truth Commission on Health Care,” with
Rep. Barbara Lee, is coming to OAKLAND on SATURDAY, MARCH 25th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Forum Building at Laney College, at 900 Fallon Steet (10th Street entrance). For more information, contact Women’s Economic Agenda Project at weap@weap.org.

Such efforts are not only focused on national legislation, but state proposals as well. “Fixing Health Care in California ” is a free public forum on universal health care, with presentations on SB840 by state Senator Sheila Kuehl. The event is also in OAKLAND on THURSDAY, MARCH 16th, at 7:00pm, at the offices of the California Nurses Association, 2000 Franklin at
20th Street. For information call 510-832-8683.

MEDI-CAL 40th ANNIVERSARY: Remembering past efforts at expanding coverage, the California Department of Health Services will be hosting a “celebration” of the Medi-Cal program, which officially started on March 1, 1966. The program in SACRAMENTO features Secretary of Health and Human Services Kim Belshe, DHS Director Sandra Shewry, and Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally. It will be held on TUESDAY, MARCH 14th, at 11:00am-2:00pm (with the program starting at 11:45am), at the Crest Theater at 1013 K St. To RSVP, call 916-440-7737, or e-mail MC40@dhs.ca.gov.

LEGISLATIVE HEARING ON HIGH-DEDUCTIBLE PLANS: Assemblywoman Wilma Chan, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, will by holding a hearing on high-deductible plans in SACRAMENTO on TUESDAY, MARCH 7th, at 1:30pm. This will include testimony from Health Access, Western Center on Law and Poverty, and others. With President Bush’s push for Health Savings Accounts, and many bills proposed at the state level, this will be a hot topic in policy circles this year.

CPEHN CONVENINGS: The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) and partners will discuss important issues impacting the health of our communities: reimbursement of interpreter services, obesity and environmental factors impacting health, and children’s health insurance coverage. To register go to http://www.cpehn.org/register.php?id=73. For questions please contact (510) 832-1160 or info@cpehn.org. The convenings are at:

  • SAN DIEGO, on MARCH 28th, at Malcolm X Branch Library, 5148 Market Street
  • FRESNO , on MARCH 30th, UC Center, 550 East Shaw Avenue
  • OAKLAND , on APRIL 4th, Nile Hall, Preservation Park , 668 13th Street
  • LOS ANGELES, on APRIL 6th, Asian Pacific American Legal Center , 1145 Wilshire Blvd, 2nd Fl.
Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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