Millions of Californians have benefited from the ACA reforms, but undocumented immigrants have been left behind, said Nadereh Pourat, the Center’s director of research, in a California Health Report story.
Senior researcher Dylan Roby said there are charity programs and emergency Medi-Cal coverage for some in the group, although “it’s still very temporary.”
A bill in the state Senate would extend Medi-Cal to and set up a Covered California-like health exchange for undocumented residents who meet certain qualifications. The story cites a joint study by the Center and UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education found that a 2 percent increase in Medi-Cal spending would provide preventive health care for as many as 730,000 undocumented Californians.
“You can ignore the fact that they aren’t getting basic services or do something about it—because later on you have to pay the price,” said Pourat.
Read the story.
A story in California Healthline says enrollment in a not-for-profit insurer that covers San Bernardino and Riverside county’s low-income residents has more than doubled, from 500,000 in 2011 to 1 million today.
The story cited California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data that estimated the share of uninsured residents in the two counties in 2007 at 20 percent and 23 percent, respectively.
About 750,000 residents of Riverside and San Bernardino counties were uninsured before health care reform compared to 250,000 today, said Bradley Gilbert, the CEO of Inland Empire Health Plan in the story. “We did not predict 350,000 members. Not even close.”
Read the story.
Nadereh Pourat, the Center’s director of research, will discuss “The Health Care System’s Contribution to Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Care Access” from noon to 1 p.m. today in CHS 13-105. The event is part of UCLA Global Health Awareness Week 2015.
As of January 6, more than one million questions have been posed to AskCHIS — the Center’s Web query tool that allows you to quickly search for statewide, regional or county health statistics. AskCHIS was created in 2003 and is powered by data from the California Health Interview Survey.
“I can think of no other Web statistical tool that has been used so much and by so many,” said Ninez Ponce, the principal investigator for the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) and an associate director of the Center. “This is an extraordinary milestone for the Center and for the goal of making health statistics understandable and usable for the widest possible audience.”
Read the press release.
A recent California audit found that 56 percent of children in the Medi-Cal dental program – 2.86 million – did not receive dental care through the program in the 2012-13 federal fiscal year, and last week’s state budget failed to address the issue, California Healthline reports.
In comparison, Ohio had the lowest rate of utilization of child dental services with 23.7 percent, while Texas had the highest at 63.4 percent, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The average rate nationwide was 47.6 percent.
Associate Center Director Nadereh Pourat said lack of care is a “perennial problem” in California because few dentists – about 40 percent in a 2003 survey– accept Medi-Cal dental patients because of the low reimbursement rates.
Read the story.
Primary care doctors who treat Medi-Cal patients were hit with two reimbursement rate cuts on Jan. 1: temporarily high Medi-Cal rates – which encouraged doctors to treat Medi-Cal patients – expired, and the state reduced Medi-Cal reimbursements by 10 percent, California Healthline reports. The cuts mean doctors will lose money treating Medi-Cal patients and will likely result in a “gradual decline” in the number of Medi-Cal providers, said Dylan Roby, senior research scientist at the Center.
According to an earlier story in The Los Angeles Times, Medicare reimbursed doctors $45.69 for a traditional office visit for a returning patient in April 2014, while Medi-Cal paid a standard rate of $18.10. Until Jan. 1, the Affordable Care Act temporarily matched Medi-Cal rates to equal Medicare rates. Medi-Cal is California’s version of Medicaid, the federal program for the poor; Medicare is the federal program for senior and disabled citizens.
Read the California Healthline story.