“Right now, I have a medicine sitting at Wal-Mart pharmacy that I can’t purchase till payday,” Jacqueline, a 55-year-old San Diegan told me during a telephone interview in mid-April. She asked that her last name not be used for this story. “I’ll go without, eight or nine days till payday. It’s for my high cholesterol.”
Five years after the Affordable Care Act became law, and more than three years after California began moving aggressively to implement its provisions, upwards of three million Californians remain without health care coverage; and millions more, like Jacqueline, have basic coverage but continue to be grievously under-insured.This is the story of how so many Californians continue to fall through the ACA’s cracks.
“Uncovered California” is a three-part series of stories and videos examining how the Golden State is trying to fill holes in its health care coverage. Sasha Abramsky’s articles look at working people who are falling through coverage cracks,
In two Thursday rulings the Supreme Court came down on the side of a functioning government that can help improve life prospects for Americans – should the people’s representatives so desire. While Californians wouldn’t have been immediately impacted had the Court undermined legislation on health care and housing discrimination, the implications could have been drastic down the road.
In upholding the Affordable Care Act, the High Court affirmed its role firstly to “say what the law is,” as Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, citing Marbury v. Madison; and, secondly, to be guided in that endeavor by adhering to the overall plan of the legislation — rather than zeroing in on each textual clause viewed in isolation. In doing so, Roberts’ Court not only saved the landmark health care law at hand, but avoided creating the implication that major legislation could potentially be undone by a stray sentence or errant copyediting.
A recent L.A. Times story profiled a fast-food worker who, according to reporter Don Lee, would lose eligibility for Medicaid if his wages were raised to $15. His wage gains could be “wiped out” by the higher health care costs he’d end up paying. Lee’s portrayal was inaccurate and misleading.
The story centers on 53-year-old Douglas Hunter, a Chicago McDonald’s cook and a leader in the Fight for $15, a national movement of fast-food workers who are pushing for $15 in hourly wages and the right to form a union without employer retaliation.
Hunter is currently enrolled in CountyCare, a Medicaid-managed care plan that pays for his health care, including more than $700 per month in medications and supplies he needs to manage his diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. Contrary to Lee’s assertion, Hunter would still qualify for Medicaid based on his income if his wage were raised to $15.
With the absolute, final-final deadline for 2014 sign-ups now completely passed, and despite numerous speed bumps, implementation of the Affordable Care Act is well under way. From my view as a bedside nurse and advocate for patients and health care workers for more than 30 years, I see a chance to close some dangerous gaps in our country’s health care systems.
In the U.S. we like to think of ourselves as the best at everything. And it’s true that we have the finest health care—for those who can afford it. Unfortunately, for the average American our care is also the most expensive, with some of the poorest outcomes, in the industrialized world. Many Americans, pre-ACA, had no access to anything but emergency care, due to cost and/or pre-existing conditions. These are the biggest gaps ACA seeks to close.
My mother had her hip replaced in 2009. I’m thankful I was there,
This week we continue our series about the shaping of California’s laws and policies by Corporate Democrats. In his second article, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Gary Cohn examines how a bill does not become a law when powerful business interests lobby against it.
Jim Araby was dead asleep when his cell phone rang at 6 a.m. last June. Until then the labor activist had been enjoying an idyllic family vacation in Guerneville, on Sonoma County’s Russian River. But the number appearing on his phone told him the call was from Sacramento, suggesting bad news. The voice he now heard confirmed it.
“Can you get here?” a union colleague asked. “We need you.”
Araby, a regional director of the United Food and Commercial Workers, listened in dismay as he learned that Assembly Bill 880, which more than half a dozen community groups and unions had supported,