California: The Path Forward for Public Health
PHI welcomes California Governor Gavin Newsom to his new role leading the golden state, and along his continued path to keep every person who lives here happy, healthy and strong.
We support the bold vision Governor Newsom laid out, in particular his recognition of the critical importance of health and public health infrastructure for the state—and his determination that no one in California will be left out or left behind.
Read on to see more recommendations that PHI and its programs have made to the new administration.
Climate Change, Health & Equity
Action to reduce climate change can dramatically improve health. Many policies that move us towards our climate goals have demonstrable and significant health benefits. Climate action in the energy, transportation, land use, housing, agricultural, and other sectors has the potential to avoid millions of preventable deaths each year globally. Shifting to renewable energy, sustainable food production and diets, active transportation, and green cities will lower climate pollution while simultaneously reducing the incidence of communicable and noncommunicable disease, improving mental health, and promising significant health care cost savings.
Without transformational action, climate change will be increasingly severe—leading to more illness, injury, and death; mass migration; and worsening health inequities. By mobilizing climate action for health and health action for climate, California can remain a leader in establishing and achieving ambitious emissions reduction goals and building healthy communities that are resilient in the face of climate risks.The priority actions outlined are urgent and essential steps to protect health and advance the well-being of Californians in the era of climate change.
Healthy Communities and Safer Chemicals
The petroleum-based economy and decades of policies that failed to embrace precautionary action have caused widespread environmental and health threats from toxic chemicals. The resulting impacts fall heavily on the most vulnerable Californians, including women and children, communities of color, and low-wage workers. Recent unraveling of environmental and health policies at the federal level invites—and demands—California leadership. Governor Newsom has already articulated a strong commitment to environmental justice and an ambitious goal of zero diesel pollution by 2030. With his bold vision, the Governor has the opportunity to:
Lead the nation in protecting people and the environment from hazardous chemicals;
Protect workers and provide environmental justice to California communities; and
Stimulate innovation in science and industry for a healthy, strong economy.
With his leadership, the Governor can remediate existing problems and prevent future ones. We recommend five feasible and actionable changes to substantially improve California’s environmental health protections.
California Wellness Trust Proposal
Investing in healthier communities is the smartest way to fundamentally reshape the health of California. While good quality health care is essential for all Californians, investing in building healthier communities can prevent illness, injury and inequitable health conditions. A California Wellness Trust could keep people from needing care in the first place, make health care dollars go further, and improve lives. This report outlines a proposed California Wellness Trust, including operational principles, potential revenue sources, allocations and governance structure. With proper management, proven and innovative investment strategies, and multi-sector support, a California Wellness Trust could assure better health for all Californians. As our population ages and medical care becomes ever more complex and expensive, the need for stable funding for upstream prevention to keep our communities healthy has never been greater.
Breathing Easier at Home: Improved Asthma Outcomes for Medi-Cal
Asthma is a significant public health problem and driver of health care costs. Nearly one in seven California residents has been diagnosed. Asthma is of particular concern for low-income Californians, like the nearly two million Medi-Cal beneficiaries who have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives. Racial and ethnic disparities persist as well: for example, African Americans were more than four times more likely as Whites to report asthma-related emergency room use in 2015.Asthma also places a substantial financial burden on the state. For example, the total charges for asthma hospitalizations in California in 2010 were over $1 billion. Join California advocates around a big, bold asthma advocacy strategy for 2019 to support asthma home visiting services for those with poorly controlled asthma in Medi-Cal.