Discussing California Health Care Reform Plan

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The African-American Health Institute of San Bernardino Countyon Wednesday discussed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health careproposal and called for the plan to include culturally sensitive careand funds to address health disparities in the black community, the San Bernardino County Sun reports (Sorba, San Bernardino County Sun,11/14). The plan would require all state residents to obtain healthcoverage and would provide income-based subsidies to low- andmoderate-income Californians (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 11/2).

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V.Diane Woods, president and CEO of AAHI, said the problem in the blackcommunity is not a lack of health insurance. "In San Bernardino County,79% of blacks have some form of health insurance. Of that 79%, 52% haveprivate health insurance. ... [T]he problem is the level of care." A.J.Rogers, a surgeon and member of the J.W. Vines Medical Society, agreed,adding that substandard care is one of the reasons why blacks are morelikely than any other racial group to die of causes related to AIDS,cancer, heart disease and hypertension.

Anthony Thomas of AAHIsuggested that a five-cent tax be added onto lottery tickets to pay forimproving health among blacks in the state.

Kathleen Webb,director of the state Office of the Insurance Advisor, said some of therecommendations made at the meeting will be included in the governor'shealth proposal. She said, "Awareness starts with the type of dialogueyou're having right now," adding, "I applaud you. ... This group couldbe a model for addressing health problems throughout Riverside and SanBernardino counties" (San Bernardino County Sun, 11/14).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser WeeklyHealth Disparities Report,search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Weekly HealthDisparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of TheHenry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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