Jul 10, 2019

California first U.S. state to offer undocumented migrants health care

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Families Belong Together LA

California has become the first U.S. state to allow some undocumented immigrants to have full health benefits paid for by taxpayers, after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed the bill into law Tuesday.

Details: The law enables an estimated 90,000 low-income adults age 25 and younger to access the state’s Medicaid program, regardless of their immigration status, at a cost to taxpayers of $98 million, according to AP, which notes California already covers children aged 18 and younger regardless of immigration status.

Why it matters: Health care for immigrants is likely to become a huge topic on the campaign trail, as President Trump begins to weigh in against such proposals, per Axios' Caitlin Owens. All 10 Democratic candidates in last month's second debate said they support providing health care to undocumented migrants.

What he's saying: Trump previously called California's health care plans for migrants "crazy," per AP.

Go deeper: Debate night: Candidates support health care for undocumented migrants

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California governor signs law targeting Trump's tax returns, ballot eligibility

2020 candidates must release tax returns to appear on California primary ballot. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Tuesday requiring all presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their 5 most recent years' worth of tax returns in order to appear on the state's primary ballot.

Why it matters: The move makes California the first state to demand the disclosure from candidates, according to reporter Yashar Ali. If a contender refuses, they will not be included on the primary ballot. The law was passed in hopes of pressuring President Trump to make his filings public — a battle House Democrats and other states have thus far failed to win.

Go deeperArrowJul 30, 2019

Health Care Vitals: Chicago

Kai Tao, Founder of Juno4Me, discusses the importance of preventative care at the Axios roundtable. Photo: Chris Dilts for Axios

This Wednesday, Axios' Sam Baker hosted an Expert Voices Live discussion in Chicago, digging into the state of health care access and affordability in Illinois.

Local leaders, health tech innovators, and advocates discussed solutions to challenges in health care policy and providing equitable, high-quality care.

Creating inclusive and comprehensive health care

How to measure the impact of effective care was a significant topic of conversation, as well as the fundamentally integrated nature of health across dental care, reproductive care, mental health services, and more.

  • Clark Stanford, Dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, discussed how dental health acts as a useful indicator for a person's overall health: "Health disparities are revealed in dental care — dental care reflects a patient's larger quality of life."
  • Felicia Davis, President and CEO of the Chicago Foundation for Women, unpacked the importance of measuring health outcomes versus outputs: "For example, if we give a girl a backpack, does her attendance improve? While saying we donated one thousand backpacks is measuring the output, we want to be measuring outcomes."
  • Paula Thornton Greear, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Illinois, expressed support for measuring outcomes over outputs, and approaching the concept of health as not subdivided into different fields: "In reproductive health...we need to work with our partners in the mental health space. We need to put our best foot forward, but we can’t do it in a silo."
How to use data in providing better care

As health providers become increasingly dependent on data, the importance of accurate and accessible information is paramount in providing effective care.

  • Bonnie Lai, Head of Technology at Lumere, advocated for a more integrated approach to health data: "We need data to understand the needs of patients, but the data is siloed and it’s hard to break out of that."
  • Jason Montrie, President of Pareto Intelligence, stressed the need to make data more accessible to patients: "How do we democratize this data? That structure needs to be furthered. Patients should be able to change [their information] so it's always updated and accurate. [And then] how do we take the whole picture of someone, and give that to [a health care provider] who can act on that information?
Health insurance and challenges of access to care

Challenges presented by the complexities of the current systems and addressing the needs of all patients featured prominently in the conversation.

  • Laura Starr, Director of Development and Communications at CommunityHealth, focused on the importance of preventative and integrated care: "We need to do what’s most cost effective and that’s prevention...and integration makes everything more effective."
  • Kai Tao, Founder of Juno4Me discussed the challenges of the current health care systems and addressing the needs of different populations: "There are really three different health systems: Medicaid, employer-based, and Medicare. How can we lift everyone up? Especially when there are different levers, different populations to serve. What this goes back to is to start people young and focusing on preventative care."
    • Regarding the cherry-picking of patients with different types of coverage: "The reality is that dentists don’t want to see Medicare patients."

Thank you Delta Dental for sponsoring this event.

Keep ReadingArrowJul 25, 2019

The health care debate Democrats aren't having

Candidates at the Democratic debate in Detroit. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tuesday night's field of presidential candidates fought in 30-second soundbites over the merits of single payer Medicare for All versus a public option.

Yes, but: None of the candidates moved beyond sparring over insurance reforms to address the underlying reason why people are having so much trouble affording their health care, which is that health care services keep getting more expensive.

Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019