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Despite Progress, Stakeholders Say California Needs to Do More for Health Equity

Kiran Savage of the Pan Ethnic Health Network and PHI’s Dr. Lynn Silver comment on the need for California to do more to address inequities in the state’s health care system, in particular, by implementing the proposed Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund.

an African American dad at a festival with his child on his shoulders

In spite of California’s historic health equity investments this year, advocates say more must be done to address inequities in the state’s health care system.

The FY 2021-2022 budget made significant expansions to Medi-Cal eligibility, covered community health workers through Medi-Cal, and allocated $24.6 million to health equity research and programs. But equity-focused leaders say the state needs to take more action — in particular, implement the proposed Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund.

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) said in a statement following the passage of the budget:

…we are deeply disappointed that the budget agreement does not reflect the urgency of the most pressing public health crisis of our time: racism. This budget misses the opportunity to invest $100 million in the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund and to spur innovation and community investment to advance racial justice.

The initiative to include a $100 million Health Equity and Racial Justice fund in this year’s budget was supported by numerous stakeholders and the legislature. But after negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, the fund wasn’t included in the final budget.

Lynn Silver, program director at the Public Health Institute, told State of Reform the community needs to continue pushing the state to enact the fund.

Lynn Silver
It’s clear that stakeholders need  to continue to advocate strongly over the course of the coming months to make sure that the commitment is kept and investment in health equity actually happens… Our broad coalition of stakeholders  will continue to advocate  strongly that at least a third of new funding for public health & health equity  go to create this ongoing Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund for community-led investments. Dr. Lynn Silver, PHI

Kiran Savage, executive director of PEHN, agreed.

“We are planning on holding the government and the legislature accountable to that commitment, and look forward to seeing that funded next year.”

Click below to read the full article in State of Reform.

Originally published by State of Reform


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