BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A television ad running in some areas of California by California endowment is calling for continued health care access for everyone, including illegal immigrants.
However a budget proposal threatens to strip funding and Kern County needs the money to cover those who will remain uninsured.
“The intention of passing healthcare reform at the national level was never to strip funds out of already underfunded county healthcare safety nets,” said Paul Hensler, Kern Medical Center CEO.
“There will be 3-4 million Californians who still don’t have coverage after the Affordable Care Act is implemented; we need to build a healthcare system that works to meet their needs instead of leaving them out.”
After health care reform is adopted, three to four million Californians will still be uninsured and will depend on county safety nets made up of public hospitals like Kern Medical Center, county health centers and community clinics.
If county healthcare funding is stripped, those institutions may be in jeopardy, affecting the accessibility and affordability of healthcare throughout the region.
"If we don't have the funds we will have less access, longer wait times, and we don't want that we want to be able to provide the best access we can to all Kern County residents not just a portion of Kern County residents" said Jacey Cooper, executive director of managed care, who works at Kern Medical Center.
Leaders of Kern Medical Center, the Service Employees International Union Local 521 that represents KMC workers, and families who count on the healthcare safety net for care their families called on Sacramento to ensure the Affordable Care Act delivers on its promise of delivering quality healthcare for all.
Healthcare reform implementation efforts in Sacramento got off to a good start, but are now getting bogged down over funding issues.
If the bills to expand Medi-Cal keep getting pushed back, the state won’t be ready by January 2014.
Likewise, if California doesn’t work out a solution for a large group of working families who earn a little too much to qualify for Medi-Cal but not enough to afford care under the exchange, they could be left out.
Advocates urged timely action on both issues.
"Come January 1, 2014 unless you a certain exception, most of us will have to comply with the law which means we have to get healthcare coverage" said Carmen Burgos. “The time to move forward on healthcare reform is now.”