News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – February 28, 2017

Media memo

In this edition of the CWDA Media Memo: as more information is learned about Republicans’ plans for the Affordable Care Act, California counties are evaluating how a repeal would affect constituents and budgets; the state Environmental Protection Agency released a new report declaring west Fresno is the most environmentally, socially and economically vulnerable place in California and pollution is a big part of the story; and read how Ventura County is honoring partnerships with landlords who are helping CalWORKs families find safe, stable homes through the Housing Support Program.  

Health Care

The leaked Republican plan to replace Obamacare, explained | Vox | February 24, 2017

Politico has obtained a leaked draft of a Republican replacement plan for Obamacare. The plan may be somewhat outdated already — it is two weeks old, per its time stamp, and Republicans have been working hard on their proposal in the meantime — but it almost certainly reveals an important shift from earlier GOP plans. In broad strokes, the draft bill hews closely to ideas outlined by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. Compared with the Affordable Care Act, this proposal would generally be worse for people who are poorer and sicker — but better for those who are higher-income and healthy. Democrats will near certainly blast this proposal as bad for the 21 million Americans who rely on Obamacare for coverage.

Repealing ‘Obamacare’ could cost SLO County about $6 million | The Tribune | February 23, 2017

A plan outlined last week by Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act could cost San Luis Obispo County at least $6 million in the next fiscal year, a county analyst said this week. If the federal Affordable Care Act is repealed in its entirety, the county would have to once again absorb the costs of providing health care to several thousand indigent residents who currently receive health insurance through the act’s expanded Medicaid program — called Medi-Cal in California. “If the federal government were to rollback the expansion of Medicaid, the county — under welfare and institutions code — would still have some responsibility for providing medical care to indigent residents,” county analyst Emily Jackson told the county Board of Supervisors during a 2017-18 budget update Tuesday.

Repeal of Health Law Faces Obstacles in House, Not Just in Senate | New York Times | Februray 23, 2017

Ever since Republicans got down to the business of repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Senate has been singled out as the likely problem. Any plan that could zoom through the House would hit roadblocks among Senate Republicans, many of whom have resisted a wholesale repeal of the health law without a robust replacement plan. But after weeks of loud protests, boisterous town hall meetings and scores of quieter meetings with health care professionals, patients, caregivers and hospital managers in their districts, it is becoming increasingly likely that a consensus in the House may be just as hard to reach.

A radical idea revived: Single-payer health care bill introduced | KPCC | February 22, 2017

As lawmakers in Washington move to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a state lawmaker is reviving a radical idea: transform California’s private health insurance system into a state-run single-payer model.  State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) has introduced the Californians for a Healthy California Act, which proposes “a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program.” Under this approach, private health insurance would be replaced with a single state-run program. Lara said his plan would guarantee coverage to all Californians and would bring down the cost of health care.

State fears Trump will topple health care gains under Obamacare | San Francisco Chronicle | February 21, 2017

For much of the three years since the Affordable Care Act took hold in California, the Golden State has been largely insulated from the most drastic problems of the health care law that plague other states. It enjoys more robust competition among health insurers and has managed to keep premium hikes lower than in most states. But now the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are chipping away at the health law. And so California, often heralded as a model state for the implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature health law, is bracing for what many call “Trumpcare” — a repeal or replacement that threatens to upend the historic progress the state is making in getting most of its residents insured. State health care advocates worry they may not be able to shield California consumers from the changes Republicans are pushing for, which could put at risk coverage for millions of low-income Californians who rely on Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program that expanded under the health law to cover nearly 4 million more people.


As Trump immigration crackdown comes into focus, anxiety grows along with anger | Los Angeles Times | February 22, 2017

Cistina Reyes eyed her daughter toddling about on a patch of grass while waiting for the trolley that would take them to their Lynwood home. The 33-year-old has stuck to public transportation ever since someone stole her car last year. She and her husband contemplated buying a new one, but worried it would go to waste. “I told my husband, ‘Let’s be prepared. Let’s just save our money in case they end up sending us back. We can at least have something to start with.’ ”  The two have been in the United States illegally since leaving Puebla, Mexico, more than a decade ago. They raised three children in a predominantly Latino community and shared little anxiety about their legal status. But they, along with millions of others now at risk of deportation, have had their sense of stability shaken by President Trump’s executive orders on illegal immigration. Fueled by fear, they are a population afloat in precarious waters, forced to rethink their daily routines and rewrite their futures. 


Living in poverty, pollution can change everything – down to the molecular level | Fresno Bee | February 18, 2017

At 42, JePahl White’s life has been filled with surgery scars and misery. He needed two kidney transplants because the first one failed. He also had surgery for a cancerous kidney tumor. Then there was open-heart surgery. He blames the kidney, cancer and heart problems on dirty air, contaminated water and life in a poverty pocket called west Fresno. And he’s not the only one who thinks people in west Fresno face disadvantages. The state Environmental Protection Agency announced west Fresno is the most environmentally, socially and economically vulnerable place in California. In a forward-thinking piece of research, the state EPA found west Fresno is the most disadvantaged place among the state’s 8,000 voting precincts.


Landlords ease homelessness crunch one tenant at a time | Ventura County Star | February 20, 2017

Landlords who will give homeless people a break are a prized commodity amid a sizzling rental market in Ventura County. So last week for the second year in a row, they were invited to a breakfast and recognition program offered by the Ventura County Human Services Agency. Two Oxnard enterprises won awards based on their efforts through the years: the mother-and-son team of Linda and Aldo Cecena and the Heritage Real Estate Group.

Domestic Violence

‘Safe Time’ legislation protects domestic violence victims’ safety and economic stability | California Health Report | February 13, 2017

Sonoma County resident Kami Reep was fired from two consecutive bookkeeping jobs in 2015—but not because she’d performed poorly or done anything wrong. In each case, she was fired because she had to take time off after her abusive ex-husband kidnapped two of their three children… Reep was fired for the second time on July 7, nearly a week after California employees could start accruing paid “safe time” under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014. Under the new law, California is now one of seven states with safe time laws that allow employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking to use paid sick days to take care of medical, legal and safety issues resulting from their abuse.


Social Media’s Growing Utility for Government - Public agencies keep finding creative ways to leverage its power for service delivery. | Governing | February 22, 2017

Anyone who doubts that creativity is abundant in the public sector need only scroll through the lists of semifinalists and ”Bright Ideas” recognized by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Innovations in American Government awards program. The programs being highlighted for this year signal a growing trend of utilizing existing technology platforms, and particularly social media, to reduce program costs and improve services. More often than not, these innovations tap into the practical know-how of digitally savvy public employees to address difficult challenges.

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.