While President Barack Obama’s 2010 health reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, greatly expanded insurance access, it excluded undocumented immigrants across the country. This likely contributed to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on undocumented Californians. Health equity and immigrant rights advocates have been urging California leaders to broaden health coverage for nearly a decade.
Author: Denzel Tongue
California’s leaders must build a diverse and culturally competent health workforce. This starts with making investments in the communities that are most vulnerable and medically underserved.
Policymakers should work to expand health career pipeline programs for underrepresented students. Programs such as Health Career Connection have driven talented students of color into health care and public health careers for years. Full disclosure: I’m an alum.
I share this part of my grandfather’s story to illustrate the real and lasting impacts of institutional racism: The same policies that cultivated wealth for White people in the United States prohibited the accumulation of wealth for Black people.
Today, as we face the impact of COVID-19 and the racial inequities it is revealing, our leaders have an opportunity to do better. Now is an opportune time to create equitable policies.
Growing up in Oakland, I quickly saw first-hand how racism resigns people of color, and Black Americans in particular, to shorter, sicker lives.
Data shows that African Americans in Alameda County live roughly seven years fewer than the county average.
If we act now, we can radically reshape our society in a positive way. Reducing the impact of and ultimately ending systemic racism has to be at the top of the list.