health equity

Opinion: How Texting Could Help Californians Access Health Care and Food Banks

The unequal impacts of COVID-19 and the ongoing crisis of police violence in communities of color have exacerbated mistrust and disconnection between these communities and the health care system. This makes achieving patient-centered care a challenge.

Studies show that brief messages and two-way communication via text builds people’s trust and engagement in health care and educational settings.

Doctor’s Notes: What I’m Seeing in Young Children Who Get COVID

AG is a 2-month-old, healthy chubby baby with “Michelin man” rolls and pinchable cheeks, and he’s my patient. I’m a pediatric intern at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a safety-net hospital in Los Angeles. When AG missed his checkup in late December, I was worried.

My colleague told me that AG recently had been in our emergency room. He tested positive for COVID-19.

Opinion: California Must Step Up to Address Racism as a Public Health Crisis

In California, 34 jurisdictions have declared racism a public health crisis. Governor Newsom, unfortunately, has failed to do so at the state level, just as he failed to support broader investments supported by the legislature to advance health equity last year.

His inaction seems to be rooted in two issues: failure to prioritize racial equity and conflating investments in health care with investments in prevention and public health.

This Central Valley Town Has a Carcinogen in its Water. Why Are Solutions So Slow?

Although California has set high standards for controlling some chemicals in water, actual enforcement and removal of contaminants is generally slow, and frequently stymied by high treatment costs and antiquated water infrastructure.

Meanwhile, polluters rarely have to answer for the health impacts their actions may have caused. Low-income communities of color are particularly hard hit, due to decades of environmental racism.

Opinion: Federal Legislation Can Advance Oral Health Equity and Racial Justice

High costs, lack of clarity over which benefits are covered and limited providers, especially ones that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, have forced historically excluded communities to delay or completely forgo oral health care.

Delayed care often leads to excruciating pain only a costly emergency room visit can fix, leaving people with thousands of dollars of medical debt.

Analysis: It’s Time to End the Racially Unjust Medical Debt Crisis

It’s the kind of case attorney Helen Tran deals with all too often. An Asian-American small business owner came into her office at Neighborhood Legal Services in Los Angeles begging for help with a surprise, five-figure medical bill.

The woman had health insurance. Yet, due to a mix-up caused by misinformation from her insurer, she’d received two chemotherapy treatments from an out-of-network provider that she had believed was in network. This simple mistake ended up devastating her financially.

A man crosses Market Street in San Francisco last April during the pandemic. Photo by Philip Wyers / iStock

Opinion: An Equitable COVID-19 Recovery Requires Renewed Public Health Investment

As a second-generation public health nurse, I can assure you another crisis will inevitably come. It could be a wildfire, poor air quality, extreme heat, another disease outbreak, an earthquake or bioterrorism. No one knows, which makes investment in our readiness so important.

Only one thing is certain: The next emergency will reveal our progress, and our failures, in addressing social inequities.

Analysis: Why California Should Expand Health Coverage to Undocumented Seniors

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.

African American father gave piggyback ride to his little daughter and having a good time together walking around the neighborhood while wearing mask during social distancing and new normal

Opinion: During a Pandemic, We Can’t Lose This Avenue to Health Equity

How can anyone think about taking away health coverage and critical consumer protections at all, let alone during a pandemic?

California fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, which allowed it to expand Medicaid and create Covered California, our state’s health insurance marketplace. As a result, our uninsured rate fell a whopping 53 percent between 2010 and 2015. Over the last 10 years, we have made tremendous gains in California and across the country. Now is not the time to go backward.

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