Health Access & Equity
About this policy area...
HOS continues to champion initiatives that create universal, equitable, and culturally congruent access to health care for communities of color.
The ongoing issues of lack of insurance coverage and precarious access to care for marginalized communities has been further highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our coalition supports these policy solutions in 2021.
Health 4 All
The Governor’s FY 2021-22 budget made history making California the first state to include all undocumented income-eligible immigrants aged 50+ in Medi-Cal. While this is an important step, California must continue the job by extending Medi-Cal to all adults regardless of immigration status which is especially needed given the disproportionate impact of COVID on immigrant communities. HOS will continue to support the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), CDBIO, California Black Health Network (CBHN) and MICOP sponsored AB 4 (Arambula) & SB 56 (Durazo) to ensure everyone can access vital health care services.
Reduce Barriers to Enrollment in Health Insurance Coverage
Despite record job losses, particularly for low-income Californians, we have not seen a comparable uptick in enrollment for Medi-Cal and Covered California. This is particularly true for children and for Black and Latinx communities. HOS supports Health Access, Western Center on Law and Poverty (WCLP), and CPEHN’s sponsored bill SB 644 (Leyva), now a 2-year bill, to authorize the Employment Development Department (EDD) to share information on unemployment insurance claimants with Covered CA to facilitate enrollment in subsidized health insurance coverage.
Office of Racial Equity
Chief among the insights from current public health policy discussions on those most negatively impacted by COVID-19 is a broader acknowledgement of the need for a robust, state level leadership approach to pursuing racial equity. As a coalition, HOS endorses the establishment of an Office of Racial Equity as proposed in CBHN, Public Health Advocates (PHA) sponsored SB 17(Pan). This includes the issuing of an executive order declaring racism a public health crisis by the Governor and the development of a statewide Racial Equity Framework.
Dedicate More COVID-19 Relief Funds to the Hardest Hit Communities
HOS is deeply committed to ensuring response strategies from the California Department of Public Health’s recent approaches to COVID-19 relief integrated into a long-term plan that addresses the current needs of BIPOC communities. Additionally, proposed solutions would proactively look to the future by preventing risks for adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) from the negative social educational impacts of the pandemic. HOS members support a targeted 3-year investment in “The California Health Equity Fund” and the jointly sponsored CBHN, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) sponsored bill AB 1038 (Gipson) which would provide direct support to local health departments, nonprofits, clinics and tribal organizations that serve disproportionately impacted communities to take action in any of the following areas:
- Housing security
- Food security & healthy food systems
- Schools and childcare
- Schools and childcare
- Health promoting built environments
- Environmental justice.
HOS members support the CHEF as it includes a clear process for stakeholder engagement and community leadership that will ensure that strategies meet local needs and build community resilience
Strengthen Demographic Data Collection and Disaggregation
As a racially and ethnically diverse coalition, HOS champions efforts to more accurately convey the realities of our communities and their composition. Often, demographic categories serve the function of erasing lived experiences by lumping together a wide variety of ethnic, national and cultural heritages under larger categories that obscure stark disparities (including income, educational attainment, refugee status and more). This leads to lack of support, resources, and increased burden on marginalized communities across all areas of public life. HOS supports the Asian Resources Inc. (ARI), LCHC, CBHN, Black Women for Wellness (BWW) sponsored AB 1358 (Muratsuchi) which builds on previous efforts to disaggregate Asian and Pacific Islander categories, expands these categories to identify Black/African American categories, Native American groups including Alaska Native and Middle Eastern North African (also known as MENA) categories.