Group Discusses California Health Care Reform Plan, Makes Recommendations for Black Community
The African-American Health Institute of San Bernardino County on Wednesday discussed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care proposal and called for the plan to include culturally sensitive care and 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 health coverage and would provide income-based subsidies to low- and moderate-income Californians (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 11/2).
V. Diane Woods, president and CEO of AAHI, said the problem in the black community is not a lack of health insurance. "In San Bernardino County, 79% of blacks have some form of health insurance. Of that 79%, 52% have private 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 more likely than any other racial group to die of causes related to AIDS, cancer, heart disease and hypertension.
Anthony Thomas of AAHI suggested that a five-cent tax be added onto lottery tickets to pay for improving health among blacks in the state.
Kathleen Webb, director of the state Office of the Insurance Advisor, said some of the recommendations made at the meeting will be included in the governor's health proposal. She said, "Awareness starts with the type of dialogue you're having right now," adding, "I applaud you. ... This group could be a model for addressing health problems throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties" (San Bernardino County Sun, 11/14).