Month: April 2010

Explaining health reform: new insurance exchange will play major role

It will be years before the new health insurance exchange at the heart of the federal health reform passed in March rolls out in California. But decisions being made now could shape how that exchange looks and works, the health benefits it makes available to consumers, how much Californians pay for their coverage and the roles played by the government and the private insurance industry.

Contra Costa moves against domestic violence

Victims of domestic violence often fall through the cracks between police, social workers and health care providers. Contra Costa County is fighting that problem by preparing to centralize services for abused women in a one-stop center in Richmond.

Federal reform won’t mean end of Healthy SF program

The federal health care overhaul signed last month by President Obama will not prompt significant changes in the short term for Healthy San Francisco, the city program that provides medical care for more than 51,000 low-income residents. And even when most major provisions of the federal law take effect in 2014, city officials say, there will still be a need for Healthy San Francisco to serve an estimated 20,000 patients who will not have health insurance under the federal law, including many who are in the country illegally.

Truck rule based on flawed data, ARB staff admits

A computer model that the Air Resources Board used to justify historic restrictions on diesel emissions from off-road construction equipment may have attributed twice as much pollution to those heavy trucks as they actually produce, according to interviews with ARB staff.

Welfare changes will mean more people in poverty

Ever since the post-1960s backlash that gave rise to the New Right, welfare has been one of the most unpopular and misunderstood public programs in America – and in California. Now the state is poised to undermine the most successful parts of its program, all but ensuring that more people, not fewer, will continue to struggle with poverty. The 1996 national reform of welfare, which created Temporary Aid to Needy Families, or TANF, pushed states to reduce their welfare rolls and required certain rates of work participation for those receiving grants. Yet despite this reform, welfare remains a popular political target, and California’s program, CalWORKs, came under attack last year in the midst of the budget crisis, resulting in major changes to the program.

From tagging crew to video crew

Growing up in Boyle Heights, Fernando Almanzar dabbled in tagging and considered joining a crew or a gang before turning away from that lifestyle. Today he is an intern at the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center, where he is learning the skill of video production. He is a success story for the Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement, which offers grant-funded academic programs and job training for residents age 14 to 21 who meet poverty guidelines and are authorized to work.

Health commitee chairman, wife, share outlook on prevention

Bill Monning is the new chairman of the state Assembly’s Health Committee. His wife, Dr. Dana Kent, is a doctor in Monterey County who has spent her life serving the poor. Dr. Kent is careful to point out that she does not advise Monning on health policy. But as Monning ponders the federal health reform that will roll out soon with a major assist from the state and his committee, the lawmaker says he will naturally call upon all he has learned through their 32-year partnership.

Stockton's rise and fall

Forbes Magazine recently ranked Stockton as the second most miserable city in America. HealthyCal contributor Tony Wilson files this video report taking a look at how the city fell so far so fast. A big reason: Stockton rode the housing boom to the top, then fell badly when the market collapsed.

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