An SEIU coalition of Eligibility Workers traveled to Sacramento Feb. 19 and urged legislators to support a bill that will expand healthcare for Californians.
Member leaders of Locals 521, 721, and 1021 lobbied the Assembly Committee on Health to vote YES on AB1X1, a bill that aims to streamline and simplify the complicated process of enrolling Californians on Medi-Cal. Local 521 leaders included Mariela Perez (pictured bottom left), Ruben Garcia (bottom row), and Roseann Berthron-Arechiga (bottom right).
AAfter hearing testimony and support for the bill, the committee voted 13 – 6 to move the bill forward to the next stage.
“This bill will streamline the process for people in need in Medi-Cal services. Facilitating access to healthcare is not only cost effective, but also saves lives.”
— Mariela Perez, Eligibility Worker II, Santa Clara County
The bill comes at a critical time. Under health care reform, 1.4 million more Californians will be eligible for expanded Medi-Cal. Only a dozen or so counties in the state still operate hospitals. SEIU 521 workers work in four of them in San Mateo, Monterey, Kern, and Santa Clara counties.
When the Affordable Care Act gets full implementation come January 2014, Gov. Brown has committed to the expansion of Medi-Cal, which is good. If, however, the expansion means less funding going into county healthcare systems, then public hospitals could eventually go the way of the dinosaurs.
- Successful implementation of healthcare reform is dependent on strengthening the state’s healthcare safety net system, which has been increasingly stressed over the past decade due to cuts.
- We must protect existing county healthcare funding and strengthen our public healthcare systems to cover the indigent and residually uninsured AND commit to keeping that money in HEALTHCARE.
“Together, we’re doing something amazing by opening the door to health care for millions of Californians. We want to be part of an enrollment process that welcomes and encourages eligible Californians rather than creating barriers to entry.”
— Robert Padilla, Eligibility Worker II, Santa Clara County