The Year of Health Care
More than 6.5 million Californians are currently without insurance,
health care costs continue to increase and a growing number of
health care facilities are closing each month. These are just
some of the overwhelming health-related issues facing California
as we begin 2007, which many have dubbed the “Year of Health
As Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to deliver his State
of the State address, with a focus on confronting California’s
health care crisis, our decision makers have the opportunity to
substantially reform California’s health care system. Presently,
policies being discussed include: coverage for the uninsured;
cost containment; and increasing awareness of the benefits of
preventative health actions.
Regardless of what policies are implemented in Sacramento or
Washington, D.C., the California Partnership for Access to Treatment
(CPAT) will continue to provide information about health care
issues and proposals through our partner network.
In 2006, CPAT hosted monthly informational seminars that encompassed
many of the critical issues our elected officials are seeking
to address in the coming year. Information about our past seminars
and additional resources can be found on the CPAT Web site, www.caaccess.org.
- Worksite Wellness Programs – Members
of the California Taskforce on Youth and Workplace Wellness,
Paul Wright and Chris Mittelstaedt, supplied information on
current worksite health care problems. They focused on how these
issues could be addressed through wellness programs which can
include an increase in physical activity and healthier food
choices for employees. They outlined the obstacles that routinely
prevent businesses from starting wellness programs and provided
the methodology needed for successful implementation.
- Deficit Reduction Act - Donna Boswell, partner
at Hogan & Hartson, provided an overview of the Deficit
Reduction Act (DRA) and discussed how this recently enacted
legislation may change California’s MediCal system for
individuals at, or slightly above, the federal poverty level.
She also illustrated how other states have reacted to the DRA
and what this has meant for their Medicaid recipients.
- Health Care Resources - Cynthia Moore, Vice
President of Perry Communications Group, presented information
on two topics: California’s Partnership for Prescription
Assistance program and the Medicare Rx Access Network of California.
She focused on the necessity of increasing awareness regarding
the PPA program, and the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit
and its Low Income Subsidy. The presentation demonstrated the
benefits of using these programs and how eligible patients can
get help paying for their prescription medicines.
- Health Economics – Chris Ward, president
of Ward Health Strategies and a former Canadian legislator,
presented comparison information on the Canadian and American
health care systems, shedding light on common misconceptions
when comparing private and state-driven health care systems.
He also illustrated current cost-drivers in the United States
and the need to reform our health care system into a patient-centered
- Health Literacy – Representative from
Californians for Patient Care, Kristine Yahn and Bob Gore, discussed
the importance of health literacy: the ability to understand
and obtain basic health information and services. They illustrated
the direct connection between health illiteracy and many health
care problems, such as improper use of medications, missed appointments
and overall patient confusion. They also talked about how small
changes in patient interactions can make a positive difference,
such as changing verbiage in handouts, e.g. “inoculation”
2007 has the potential to bring substantial changes to California’s
health care system. CPAT looks forward to working with our partners
to provide information and resources about the most pressing health
care issues in California.