News on Human Services Programs, Legislation & the People We Serve – March 25, 2017

Media memo

In this edition of the CWDA Media Memo: House GOP leaders pull the American Health Care Act from the floor for a vote Friday, after millions of patients, providers, advocates and others made it clear the plan would mean worse health care and higher costs, and share how the Affordable Care Act has changed their lives. On Thursday, California officials laid out the hit the state would take under the GOP plan: $6 billion by 2020 and $24.3 billion by 2027. Groups in the Bay Area are among a growing number of entities helping immigrants prepare for the worst by making deportation-preparedness plans. And learn what Los Angeles County homeless advocates are doing to create incentives for local landlords in their push to find housing for more families and individuals. 

Health Care

Republicans Yank Obamacare Repeal Bill | Politico | March 24, 2017

Facing a growing rebellion within his own ranks, Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the Republican Obamacare replacement plan from the House floor on Friday just before a scheduled vote. The decision is a staggering defeat for Ryan and President Donald Trump in their first attempt to partner on major legislation and fulfill a seven-year Republican promise to repeal Obamacare. It comes a day after Trump issued an ultimatum to House Republicans to vote for the bill or live with Obamacare.

Rural California Counties Could Be Hit Hard Under Obamacare Repeal | KQED The California Report | March 24, 2017

CWDA Deputy Executive Director Cathy Senderling-McDonald shares how the American Health Care Act would have hurt rural counties, particularly regions where 40-50 percent of the population in on Medi-Cal. (Story is the first of the March 24th edition; Cathy’s piece starts around the 2:00 mark.)

California Officials: State Will Lose $24 Billion by Decade’s End Under GOP Health Plan | KQED | March 22, 2017

California would lose $24.3 billion in federal funding by 2027 for low-income health coverage under the current Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new state analysis released Wednesday. The bill, up for a vote in the House on Thursday, represents a “massive and significant fiscal shift” from the federal to state governments by setting caps on spending, reducing the amount of money available for new enrollees and eliminating other funding for hospitals and Planned Parenthood, the analysis said. The analysis, based on internal cost, utilization and enrollment data, was sent Tuesday to the state’s secretary of Health and Human Services.

Low-income Californians will be hit hard by proposed American Health Care Act changes | Fresno Bee | March 22, 2017

The federal health care plan being pushed by President Trump that would repeal the Affordable Care Act would have devastating effects financially to the medical safety net and on people’s health in the central San Joaquin Valley, said dozens who spoke at a state Assembly Health Care Committee hearing at Fresno City Hall on Wednesday. From a self-employed couple who got health care through Covered California (the state’s health care exchange) to mothers of severely handicapped adult children on Medi-Cal, people lined up at the three-hour hearing to express their concern over the potential passage of the proposed American Health Care Act. The House is scheduled to vote on the legislation Thursday. Said one mother of the potential for a major restructuring of Medi-Cal that could cut off people like her son: “They will be homeless.”

GOP Bill’s Unheralded Changes In Rules Could Undermine Health Of Neediest | Kaiser Health News | March 20, 2017

An under-the-radar provision in the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act would require the millions of Medicaid enrollees who signed up under the Obamacare expansion to renew their coverage every six months — twice as often as under current law. That change would inevitably push many people out of coverage, at least temporarily, experts say, and help GOP leaders phase out Medicaid expansion — a key goal of the pending legislation…  Health care experts and advocates fear that could potentially saddle people on Medicaid with unaffordable medical bills, shortchange providers and raise costs throughout the health care system. “These are changes to fundamental pieces of the Medicaid program,” said Cathy Senderling-McDonald, deputy executive director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California in Sacramento, which represents human services directors from the state’s 58 counties.

Local Stories on Health Care

In Deep-Blue State, Millions in Reddish Heartland Are Counting On Medicaid | California Healthline | March 22, 2017

FRESNO, Calif. — In 2012, when Jerry Goodwin showed up at a clinic with intense pain and swelling in his legs, doctors called for an ambulance even though the hospital was across the street. That generated a $900 bill — just the beginning of a nearly three-year ordeal for Goodwin, who was uninsured. Diagnosed with cellulitis and an irregular heartbeat, Goodwin managed to get his emergency care costs covered through the hospital but then faced month after month of bills for follow-up care and medications. Finally, in 2015, he was able to sign up for Medicaid coverage, which was expanded under the Affordable Care Act to cover many single adults without children. “That was a big relief,” said Goodwin, 64. Now Goodwin and people like him are worried all over again.

Affordable Care Act helped 30,000 in Merced County | Merced Sun-Star | March 17, 2017

Currently, there is much debate about whether the Affordable Care Act was a benefit or a boondoggle. The answer can certainly be quantified for Merced County residents. From 2014 to 2017, health care coverage for low-income individuals significantly increased as a result of coverage expansion – a pillar of the ACA – with more than 30,000 new enrollees receiving full-scope Medi-Cal.


Bay Area families rush to make deportation-preparedness plans; Advocates, faith-based organizations encouraging families to have a plan  | Mercury News | March 22, 2017

An 18-year-old student at an East Bay community college worries she could come home one day and find that immigration agents have taken away her parents under the new era of President Donald Trump. Although she and her 15-year-old sister are American citizens, their parents are undocumented Mexican immigrants. “Who would be responsible for my sister if they were to get sent back?” Jazmin said. (She asked to be identified only by first name, and her parents are not being named to protect the family’s identity) “What would happen to us financially if we weren’t able to go with them?” The Oakland residents are among a growing number of immigrants who are preparing for the worst by making deportation-preparedness plans.

Why Immigrants in California Are Canceling Their Food Stamps | TalkPoverty | March 17, 2017

What if you had to make a choice between hunger or deportation? As the Trump era unfolds in California, fear of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement crackdown is disrupting the daily lives of immigrants and their families. In a state with 5.4 million non-citizen residents—and where nearly half of all children have at least one immigrant parent—the president’s promise to increase deportations may already be affecting the health and livelihoods of families, even those here legally, by discouraging them from turning to public-assistance programs or from working.


Landlords to enlist in the fight against Los Angeles County homelessness epidemic | Daily Breeze | March 22, 2017

It’s the biggest missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to fighting homelessness in Los Angeles. County: available housing. So on Wednesday morning, homeless advocates joined together with county officials in Carson to pitch some new incentives to 100 or local landlords willing to consider signing up to accept housing vouchers and other assistance that will be provided to get people off the streets.

When families are priced out, the whole city pays the cost | San Francisco Chronicle | March 21, 2017

People pack up and leave San Francisco every day, squeezed out by housing prices that are just too high. Some of those departures really hurt — not just the friends and co-workers left behind, but also the city itself. On Monday, Jackie Jenks, executive director of Hospitality House, spent her last day on the job in the place she has worked for 22 years. She is credited with saving the homeless shelter and drop-in center, which was on the brink of financial collapse during the Great Recession. She founded an association of leaders of homeless nonprofits who have fought for change at City Hall — including, remarkably, ensuring that shelters have blankets and pillows, which they didn’t always have before.


Kids who suffer hunger in first years lag behind their peers in school | KPCC | March 23, 2017

Growing up in a hungry household in the first couple of years of life can hurt how well a child performs in school years later, according to a new study. An estimated 13.1 million children live in homes with insufficient food, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Many of those children experience hunger during their first few years of life, or their parents are hungry and stressed out about food during those years – the most crucial time for a child’s development.


Want foster students to succeed in college? Bills make financial aid easier to get | Sacramento Bee | March 17, 2017

Like other children placed in foster care, Luz Hernandez was on her own when it came time for applying for or paying for college. Because she had no parents, guardians or resources to help her figure out how to fill out financial aid forms, Hernandez did not get any grants or loans for her first year at City College of San Francisco, and was dropped from her first-semester classes. Later, a foster youth support program she found on campus helped her get financial aid and class counseling so she could to stay on track for graduation…  State lawmakers are considering legislation to help foster youths navigate the college application process. Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, introduced Senate Bill 12 to require social workers to set up an application help network for foster youths interested in college. It also would coordinate systems to automatically verify applicants’ foster youth status when applying for federal Pell Grants. And the bill would double the number of California community colleges – from 10 to 20 – that have broader foster youth support services on campuses. 


Recognize efforts of social workers this month | Orange County Register Op-ed | March 16, 2017

Men, women and children end up living on the streets for many reasons. Good-paying jobs can be hard to come by in expensive Orange County. A disability or mental illness blocks opportunities. Drug and alcohol addiction captures lives. In Orange County, vast communities have somehow ended up on the streets, living along the Santa Ana Riverbed, in motels or in shelters. And advocates, residents and elected officials are all grappling with how to help… Millions of dollars and communities of people who care deeply about homelessness haven’t yet figured out how to end homelessness here. There is no silver bullet. But there is one segment of the social safety net that every day of the year helps minimize incidents of homelessness in Orange County and its impacts on the broader community. These are the county social workers who do so much to tackle the underlying issues that lead to homelessness, whose work often helps people avoid ending up on the streets. 

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.