FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14th, 2020
Contact: Robert Nunez, email@example.com
SACRAMENTO, CA — Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) issued the following statement:
We appreciate the State’s increased investment for the Medi-Cal program and continued support to maintain investment for Health4all Kids and Health4all Young Adults in the May revision. Additionally, we applaud the state’s continued investments in critical food and economic benefits under the Department of Social Services (CDSS) and public health infrastructure under the Department of Public Health (CDPH).
We are concerned, however, with the withdrawal of Health4All Seniors and various critical safety-net programs during this time. While we recognize the importance of a balanced and sustainable budget, LCHC is disappointed in the May Revise Budget reductions and elimination of the following services and programs under the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS):
- Full-Scope Medi-Cal to Undocumented Older Adults
- Adult Dental and Other Optional Benefits
- Mental Health Services Act Reform and postpartum mental services
- Office of Health Care Affordability
- California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM)
Our State has a responsibility to all Californian’s to ensure the human right to health care by expanding health coverage to all, as well as maintaining critical health and human services for low-income communities facing the brunt of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the remaining uninsured, more than half (57%) are Latino, making them the largest uninsured racial/ethnic group in the State. To date, 52% of positive confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported among the Latinx community, even though they represent 39% of the total California population. Furthermore, Latinx seniors have suffered a devastating rate of infection with 36% of confirmed cases (ages 65-79) despite representing 22% of the total population. Among Seniors (80+), the infection rate is 26% yet only representing 20% of the total population. The lack of access to healthcare is also having a devastating toll on COVID-19 related death rates with Latinos representing 39% of deaths (ages 65-79) and 26% of deaths (ages 80+). Even so, many Latinx seniors have been unable to access Medi-Cal coverage given their immigration status.
“The Governor’s May Revise budget reflects the sobering reality that the State of California is facing an economic crisis directly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to achieve health equity for all, we can’t back down from commitments to expand coverage to low-income Seniors regardless of immigration status. Investments in health care and social services today are exactly what our low-income, immigrant, Latinx and other communities of color need to survive this moment and re-build healthier communities tomorrow.” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, LCHC’s Executive Director.
“Unfortunately, the budget cuts we heard about today will have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of California. It is important that our state leadership continues to place equity-seeking communities — such as Latinos, people of color and low-income families at the center of their decision making. This crisis affects us all but the disparities are being exacerbated among communities which have been systematically disenfranchised.It is crucial that we continue to invest in life saving systemic changes that will strengthen our safety net and protect us from any future public health crisis or natural disaster.” stated Dr. Seciah Aquino, LCHC’s Deputy Director.
Health emergencies do not take into account immigration status; neither should we. California should continue to invest in the health and wellbeing of our state by increasing access to full-scope Medi-Cal to ALL Californians, regardless of citizenship status. We will continue fighting for an equitable california for all. La lucha sigue!
Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC)—the only statewide organization with a specific emphasis on Latino health—was founded by health care providers, consumers and advocates in 1992 to impact Latino health by focusing on policy development, providing enhanced information, and community involvement.