Getting California Healthier…

HEALTH ACCESS ALERT: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 “LET’S GET HEALTHY CALIFORNIA TASK FORCE” CONSIDERS A TEN YEAR PLAN TO MAKE CALIFORNIA THE HEALTHIEST STATE   * Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force Meets Today and Reviews Draft Plan * Feedback and Comment Still Sought On Goals and Interventions ** Also This Week: Newly Named “Covered California:Exchange Meets Wednesday, To Approve Plan for Start-Up Operations and Sustainability ** REMINDER: Get Tickets or Sponsor for the Health Access 25th Anniversary Symposium on Tuesday, December 4th at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento! Read Our Health Access Blog for More Updates; Also Follow Us on Facebook! Read Real-Time Updates on Legislation on Twitter @HealthAccess! We Will Live-Tweet Tomorrow’s Exchange Board Meeting, and Blog It […] Read More

Memo on Memes

We have appreciated a new Internet meme that was geared for true health policy geeks, on the wonkiest of subjects: delivery system payment reform. It’s crucially important–as a key element in the effort to improve quality and control costs in our health care system over the long run. I’ve posted a sample, but for a full blast of wonky goodness, go to Health Care For All Massachusetts tumblr, at Here at Health Access California, we are also working on payment reform, along with other elements of implementing the Affordable Care Act. In addition, we are no strangers to the world of social media, or of even starting our own memes. For the two year anniversary of the Affordable Care […] Read More

An unfortunate deal…

Despite the strong merits of the need to extend unemployment insurance, extend the “SGR” fix to keep doctors payments in Medicare whole, and extend the payroll tax cut–I am disappointed in the final deal. In particular, the deal that President Obama has pledged to sign includes taking $5 billion from the prevention fund in the Affordable Care Act–about 1/3 of the resources it has over the next 10 years–to fund the Medicare SGR “doc fix.” It’s not good precedent to whittle away at the commitments in the Affordable Care Act, and its shortsighted to take funds away from the kinds of activities that can reduce health costs in the long haul. As Bob Ross from The California Endowment points out: […] Read More

Toward healthier communities…

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today grants to 61 states and communities with over 120 million residents to fight chronic disease, which is the leading cause of death in Americans. Created by the Affordable Care Act, Community Transformation Grants help states and communities tackle the root causes of chronic disease such as smoking, poor diet and lack of physical activity. Grantees will use these funds, which total more than $103 million, to transform where their residents live, work, play, and go to school so that they can lead healthier, more productive lives. Here’s the California-specific fact sheet on the effort. Grants awarded today included implementation awards to California county agencies like the San Diego Health […] Read More

Secretary Sebelius at a Sacramento school…

For the first anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said it was an “easy call” to come to California, given the state’s leadership on health reform and efforts around prevention and wellness. She visited a Sacramento school this morning to highlight national and local efforts at health and fitness. She was joined by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, California Endowment CEO Dr. Bob Ross, and others. Students went through some exercises with Slamson and others from the Sacramento Kings (Secretary Sebelius was properly attired in purple for the event).Secretary Sebelius spotlighted the investments in health and prevention in the stimulus act as well as […] Read More

Preventing Preventable Hospitalization Saves Money

Last week the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) released a report on “Preventable Hospitalizations” or hospitalizations that could have been prevented if the medical condition had been treated earlier and on an outpatient basis. The report is based on data collected between 1999 and 2008. Why do preventable hospitalizations matter? First and foremost, it is better to be less sick and to take care of medical problems before they escalate to the level where hospitalization is required. From a broader perspective, outpatient care is less effective, less expensive, and less risky (hospital acquired infections) than hospital care. Where there were decreases in preventable hospitalizations, examining best practices around how to deliver accessible primary and preventive care can […] Read More

Hope for Child Hunger and Hope for Bipartisanship

Just when we were ready to completely give up hope that higher purpose could transcend partisan politics, today President Obama signed into law the bipartisan-supported Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and California Representatives George Miller and Lynn Woolsey, the law passed with unanimous consent in the Senate before being signed into law by the President today. The law allocates $4.5 billion to child nutrition programs over the next 10 years to support programs such as school lunch, upon which 32 million children in America depend on as an important source of nutrition. For some, school lunches and school breakfasts are the most reliable source of nutrition they have. In addition to expanding access to and […] Read More

Prevention in Santa Clara…

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced a grant of $3.6 Million to Santa Clara County Public Health Department for obesity prevention, as part of a $31 million batch of additional awards to promote public health activities in ten communities. These awards come out of the new federal health law’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. To view a detailed listing of grant awardees, visit To learn more about Communities Putting Prevention to Work, visit Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

Majority Report

The California Program on Access to Care (CPAC) released the results of their “Ethnic Health Assessment Project,” an examination of the specific health needs of California’s 4 largest minority groups. At the behest of the Tri-Caucus of the California Legislature, CPAC studied health needs and opportunities for health equity in African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, Latinos, and American Indians and Alaska Natives. Senator Gil Cedillo, chair of the Latino Caucus, commented that these reports should actually be referred to as the “Majority Report” as Latinos, Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and American Indians combined actually make up 56% of the population of California. Assemblymember Mike Eng encouraged attendees to hold legislators accountable for incorporating […] Read More

Michelle Obama Lays Down the Law on Prevention

The Health Reform Law requires that insurance plans must cover evidence-based prevention services with no cost share to the consumer starting on September 23, 2010. The White House brought out the big guns today, with first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joining Secretary Sebelius in announcing new regulations that lay out specific requirements for insurers. The regulations delineate the evidence-based preventive services that must now be offered by new health insurance plans without deductibles, copays, or coinsurance. They include everything from blood pressure screening, cancer screening, cholesterol screening, obesity counseling, and smoking cessation programs, to a wide array of immunizations. (Click here to see the full list.) Research has shown that out of pocket costs contribute to underutilization […] Read More