News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – February 18, 2017

Media memo

In this edition of the CWDA Media Memo: House Republicans have officially released their plan for repealing the Affordable Care Act, and as feared, it would devastate the Medicaid program; meanwhile a CDC survey shows California’s uninsured rate is down to just 7.1% thanks to strides made under the ACA and Medicaid expansion; survivors of sex trafficking and advocates are educating the medical field in California on the trauma and abuse signs to often overlooked so doctors and nurses can better respond and intervene; the number of Alzheimer’s cases is growing rapidly across the entire U.S. population but particularly among Latinos, learn how the medical community and caregivers are preparing.

Health Care

Republican Health Care Proposal Would Cover Fewer Low-Income Families | KQED | February 17, 2017

House Republicans are debating a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act that would give consumers tax credits to buy insurance, cut back on Medicaid and allow people to save their own money to pay for health care costs. The outline plan is likely to take away some of the financial help low-income families get through Obamacare subsidies, and also result in fewer people being covered under the Medicaid health care program for the poor.

Uninsured rate in California drops to record low, CDC estimates | San Francisco Chronicle | February 15, 2017

The percentage of Californians without health insurance fell to a record low 7.1 percent in 2016, according to estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday. The figure represents just a 1 percentage point drop from 2015, but is down significantly from the 17 percent uninsured rate in 2013, before the Affordable Care Act was implemented… The law’s expansion of Medicaid and its other provisions — such as prohibiting insurers from denying patients coverage because of pre-existing conditions — are driving down the uninsured rate, said Cynthia Cox, an associate director at the Kaiser Family Foundation who researches the health law’s effect on private insurers and enrollees.

Health Care Jitters: Life after Obamacare? | Coastal View | February 15, 2017

Daniel Gutiérrez, 59, didn’t want to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. He flat-out didn’t like the idea of accepting a handout. For 25 years Gutiérrez had a full-time job as a dishwasher and food preparation worker at Peabody’s, a popular restaurant in Montecito. But when Peabody’s closed in 2012, he lost the job and the health benefits that came with it… So, undeterred by the Republican campaign to repeal Obamacare, Gutiérrez made an appointment last January at the county Health Care Center on the aptly-named Camino del Remedio (Remedy Road). He found he was eligible for Medi-Cal under the new law, and he signed up… One in 10 county residents now has health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, state and county records show. 

LA, state politicians mull responses to Obamacare repeal | KPCC | February 14, 2017

California lawmakers are discussing how they will respond to a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and Los Angeles County is poised to offer its own suggestions for how to deal with a cut in federal health care dollars. Some state lawmakers “have legislative vehicles ready to respond” once Congress and the Trump administration take action on Obamacare, said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California. Wright said the bills are just placeholders right now, because “the range of what the federal government could do is so great… it’s hard to know what an appropriate response is.”

For California’s Smallest Businesses, Obamacare Opened The Door | Kaiser Health News | February 13, 2017

If Republicans in Congress scrap the Affordable Care Act, Carmina Bautista-Ortiz might have to go back to Mexico for health care. But she’d rather spend the time running the printing shop she and her husband own in Jurupa Valley, a city about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. For at least 10 years, before the Affordable Care Act made it possible for them to get insurance, Bautista-Ortiz and her husband Roger had been uninsurable — she because of a heart condition known as tachycardia, he because of high cholesterol.

Health care’s new majority | Politico | February 8, 2017

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On any given day at the Salud Clinic, Lucrecia Maas sees about 22 patients. They come to the community health center tucked away in an office park needing cavities filled, prescriptions renewed and babies vaccinated. When they start to speak, it’s rarely in English. They might speak Hindi. Or Dari. Or Hmong. Or Russian. Maas is fluent in English and Spanish, but that gets her only so far. On most days, she guesses, her patients will speak about six languages. She often has to hop on the phone with a medical interpreter, who relays her questions to the patient and then translates the patient’s answers. “It just takes a little more time,” the nurse practitioner says. The future of American health care looks a lot more like the Salud clinic than Norman Rockwell’s iconic small-town doctor’s office. The country is on course to lose its white majority around 2050. That future is already visible in Sacramento, where by 2013 the combined population of Hispanic, black, Asian and other nonwhite residents had edged out whites in Sacramento County and neighboring Yolo County, where West Sacramento is located. With immigration driving much of the new diversity, hospitals and doctors are grappling with complex cultural, language and financial challenges.

Obamacare Changes Could Hinder Drug Addicts From Getting Help | Governing | February 7, 2017

In the three years since the Affordable Care Act took effect, its federally funded expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults has become the states’ most powerful weapon in the battle against the nation’s worsening opioid epidemic. Now, as Congress and President Donald Trump debate potential replacements for the law, governors, health care professionals and advocates for the poor are cautioning that any cut in federal funding for addiction treatment could reverse much of the progress states have made.


Some Immigrants, Fearful Of Political Climate, Shy Away From Medi-Cal | Kaiser Health News | February 17, 2017

Some foreign-born Californians are canceling their Medi-Cal coverage or declining to enroll in the first place, citing fears of a Trump administration crackdown on immigrants. Among those dropping coverage are people in the country legally but concerned about jeopardizing family members who lack permanent legal status, according to government officials, immigration attorneys and health care advocates.

Telemundo town hall offers worried Latino immigrants tips in wake of ICE raids | Los Angeles Daily News | February 12, 2017

Amid “panic and fear” that has gripped certain Latino immigrants across the nation, scores of Spanish-speakers converged in Universal City on Sunday for a taped town hall about the effects of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and recent enforcement actions on the Latino community. The afternoon event, which was presented by “Noticias Telemundo” (Telemundo News) and was set to air nationwide on the network that evening, featured a panel of experts and activists who responded to a series of immigration-related questions and concerns posed by preselected audience members.

I can see the fear’: multicultural Los Angeles senses a different world under Trump | Los Angeles Times | February 2, 2017

Over the years his fellow Cubans left his Glendale neighborhood, along with many Anglos, part of an ethnic shift that transformed many suburban cities starting in the 1970s. Armenians, Iranians, Filipinos and other Latinos moved in. The nearby Ralphs eventually became Super King, a vast Armenian grocery that draws people of every ethnicity.

Child Welfare

Sonoma County’s group homes for kids adapting to state changes | Press Democrat | February 15, 2017

The Valley of the Moon Children’s Home, an emergency shelter for children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect, is poised for a major transition that would dramatically reduce the number of days youths could be housed there. The change will limit stays to 10 days and require the shelter to respond more quickly and appropriately to a child’s trauma, with an emphasis on promoting physical, psychological and emotional safety. Each one of the shelter’s 93-member staff, from cooks to counseling staff to supervisors, has been undergoing extensive training since November and will continue through June, said Leslie Winters, the children’s center section manager.

Child Sex Trafficking

Sex-trafficking victims get specialized care at Mercy clinic; doctors watch for telltale signs | The Sacramento Bee | February 17, 2017

Family physician Ronald Chambers has spent hours searching the website Backpage to see if he might recognize former patients among the dozens of girls posing and smiling in sex ads. He wonders if their layers of makeup hide bruises or if he might have missed the telltale signs of sex trafficking in patients at his south Sacramento clinic. Chambers, like a growing number of health care providers across the country, has waded into the disturbing world of human trafficking to learn how to better recognize and treat its victims. Although the illicit trade has become a media buzzword in recent years and a cause célèbre for public health campaigns, medical professionals have, until recently, remained largely in the dark about their role in helping fight the crime.


An Alzheimer’s ‘Tsunami’ Threatens Latinos | Kaiser Health News | February 16, 2016

On a recent Sunday morning in late November, Tania Yanes opened the curtains in a dimly lit bedroom to see her mother, Blanca Rosa Rivera, bundled up under a yellow wool blanket. Rivera seemed disoriented as her eyes struggled with the morning light. “Good morning, Blanquita … how are you this morning?” asked Yanes, as she caressed her mother’s forehead. “Good,” responded Rivera, in a barely audible whisper. Most mornings, Rivera needs to be comforted. “I have to remind her who she is and that she’s safe,” Yanes said…  It is increasingly common for adult children to care for elderly parents with Alzheimer’s — particularly among Latinos, the fastest growing minority in the United States. The number of Alzheimer’s cases is growing rapidly across the entire U.S. population, and could nearly triple by 2050 to 13.8 million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

To submit stories for inclusion in CWDA’s weekly Media Memo, email Sarah Jimenez. County staff and others not currently receiving the Media Memo directly can sign up on the CWDA website at the bottom of the home page.