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Newsletter: July, 2007(archive)
How Would Single Payer Help Our Medical Center?
California's public hospitals play a key role ensuring that the uninsured and indigent have access to health care. But what is the role of the Alameda County Medical Center and the state's other safety-net-providers if California provides universal health coverage to all residents, as envisioned under SB 840, Senator Sheila Kuehl's single payer bill?
"We would see more equitable financing for public hospitals, based on need," says Sue Bergman, who is the chair of the Health Care for All Education Fund.
Bergman works at ACMC's Eastmont Clinic as a health educator. "The medical center has more extensive health education services than most private hospitals," and she says these programs would be strengthened under asingle payer system. "Health education is just now getting the recognition it needs for managing chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma."
The California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems
"Public hospitals provide comprehensive systems of care, including services that are essential for the entire community. For example, they operate roughly 60 percent of all top-level trauma centers and nearly 45 percent of all burn units. They also deliver 11 million outpatient visits a year, and train 45 percent of all doctors in California."
Public hospitals will continue to play a key role in providing care to patients with complex needs, "such as homeless persons, those with severe mental illness." In addition to providing primary care and mental health services, public facilities link patients to other government programs, such as housing and social services.
Under single payer, private health care providers could adopt some of the best practices of our public institutions-health education and chronic disease management, culturally competent and multi-lingual staff, links to mental health programs and social services. And our public facilities could look more like the private sector, with needed investment in new and renovated facilities, medical equipment and information technology.
It is not just a matter of sprucing up public facilities and upgrading equipment. CAPH believes the state's health care facilities would not have sufficient capacity "as newly covered people seek services and place new demands on an already strained delivery system."
"It is critical that health care reform include an expansion of the delivery system, to ensure that people have both coverage and access to care. This will require significant investments in staff, equipment, technology and providers."
Please join us at the next Vote Health meeting on July 23rd, when Erica Murray, policy director for the California Association of Public Hospitals, will address the role of public hospitals under a universal health care system.
SiCKO leafleting campaign a great success! Michael Moore's SiCKO has had a powerful impact on local audiences, as almost 200 volunteers at 9 East Bay theaters have seen. The leafleting campaign was developed by the SB 840/OneCareNow Statewide Strategy Group, and is being implemented throughout the state. The leaflets include a tear-out postage-paid postcard urging the governor and legislature to pass SB 840. People leaving the theater have been more than willing not simply to take a leaflet but to fill out the postcard and leave it with us. Many people expressed a desire to do more. Vote Health and the East Bay SB 840 coalition will be developing opportunities for further participation in the SB 840 campaign; if you want to help, please email us at info@VoteHealth.org.
The leafleting campaign will continue, focusing primarily on the weekends when turnout is highest, as long as there are people willing to help. If you want to participate, please contact Sharon Maldonado at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-524-2316. Thanks to Sharon for a fantastic job of coordinating this effort!
SB 840 continues to advance:
SB 840 passed the Assembly Health Committee on July 3. Senator Kuehl is not expected to move the bill any further through the Assembly until next year: she does not want to give Governor Schwarzenegger a chance to veto the bill this year, thus depriving the SB 840 campaign of an organizing focus next year. Stay tuned..
OneCareNow campaign continues...
Berkeley, Sunday June 24, "Let's Get Healthy" Held at St. Joseph the Worker Church, this event included health screenings and education, bi-lingual showings and discussions of the OneCareNow DVD, and great food! It was truly a coalition effort: Wellstone, Vote Health and League of Women Voters members staffed information tables and garnered signatures on the OneCareNow petition and voter registrations; Sharon Maldonado solicited volunteers for the SiCKO leafleting campaign; CaPA and Health Care for All provided speakers for the DVD; BOCA helped publicize the event and brought in a very generous donation of burritos from Chipotle; and staff from Lifelong Medical Clinic provided blood pressure screenings. Food donations were abundant, including not simply Chipotle but Noah's Bagels, Trader Joe's, and the Berkeley Cheese Board. Vukani Mawethu, the South African choir, performed as well. Thanks to Sue Bergman of Vote Health and Health Care for All and Ursula Rolfe of the League of Women Voters and CaPA for their careful planning and organizing!
Hayward, Saturday July 14, 2-4 PM: Birthday celebration for Jim Forsyth. 2-5 PM, Starr King Unitarian Church, 22577 Bayview Ave, Hayward. Long-time VoteHealth member Jim Forsyth, with an even longer tradition of social justice activism, is sharing his birthday celebration with the OneCareNow campaign. We expect this to be a very festive and widely attended event: if you receive this newsletter in time to attend, please email email@example.com or call 510-247-0728.
Oakland, Saturday August 4, 1:30 PM, Rally for SB 840/OneCareNow with A Phillip Randolph Institute at at Frank Ogawa Plaza. See enclosed leaflet.
Vote Health is the Alameda County associate of Health Care for All - CA. Our priorities include support of single payer health care/SB 840, currently through the OneCareNow/365 city campaign, as well as advocating for access to quality health care services locally for the indigent and uninsured.