CA Obamacare implementation funds activist groups

CA Obamacare implementation funds activist groups

This is Part 1 of a two-part series.

Covered California front page, Sept. 24, 2013As California continues taking the lead in implementing Obamacare, officially called the Affordable Care Act, the state’s health care insurance “exchanges” are expected to serve as a model for exchanges in other states. The exchanges are being set up under legislation signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010.

But not all the money is going for doctors, pills and operations.

The California Legislature and the new Covered California health insurance exchange are handing out more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars to contractors. Much of the money is going for “outreach” and “education programs” connected to voter registration drives through the health exchanges.

In 2012, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 35, by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, requiring that voter registration be part of the health insurance exchanges.

Covered California announced in May it would be awarding $37 million to 48 organizations to “conduct outreach and education programs” on how Californians can access “affordable health care coverage.”

Covered California is calling these “partnerships,” and the goal is to “increase awareness about the new benefits, to educate targeted audiences, and motivate consumers.”

$37 million in grants for outreach and education

According to Covered California, they are “developing educational partnerships that anchor outreach and education programs in communities where likely enrollees live, work, pray, shop, and play.”

The breakdown is:

* California’s Latino community, the largest group of potentially subsidy, will receive 37 outreach and education grants.

* Caucasians, the next largest group, will receive 24 grants;

* 32 grants will go to African American outreach;

* 11 grants target the Middle Eastern community.

* 20 grants specifically target outreach to the diverse Asian-Pacific Islander communities, including:

– 19 organizations targeting the Vietnamese communities;

– 18 targeting the Chinese community;

– 18 targeting the Filipino community;

– 16 targeting the Korean community;

– 11 targeting the Hmong community;

– nine targeting the Laotian community;

– eight targeting the Japanese community;

– eight targeting the Cambodian community.

Where did the money come from?

“The Obama administration granted a whopping $910 million to California to set up its insurance exchange,” according to Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D. McCaughey is a constitutional scholar, a patient advocate and health policy expert, and a former lieutenant governor of the state of New York.

She explained, “That money is not for bandages, surgery, nurses and doctors to care for the sick. Nor is it for insurance plans, though $910 million could buy generous coverage for at least 113,000 people!”

The $910 million was targeted not for actual health care, but for bureaucratic spending. McCaughy said this included $360,000 a year for the executive director, and other rich compensation packages for exchange employees.

Anything and everything can be defined as “outreach.”

$37 million goes to 48 contractors

Recently, Covered California announced $37 million in grants to 48 organizations to build public awareness about the opening of the health exchange on Oct. 1.

The 48 organizations received grants, but only  some of the grant recipients are even health-related. Each of the grant recipients had to present an outreach plan, and list their targeted population.

Here is a partial list:

* Asian Americans Advancing Justice received $1 million for outreach to nail salon owners, targeting Asian Americans, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

* Cal State Universities received $1.25 million for outreach to student orientation and faculty events.

* The California NAACP received $600,000 for door-to-door canvasing throughout the state targeting African Americans.

* Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Inc. received $694,000 for outreach at youth events, health fairs and community events, targeting young adults, young “invincibles” and members of young families. Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Inc., serves 29 counties throughout mid-California and 13 counties in Northern Nevada, with  36 health center locations and 11 community sites.

* Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles received $940,000 for outreach to community, cultural and recreational events, targeting Latino and college students.

* The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, the Central Labor Council for affiliated labor unions in LA County, received $500,000, for door-to-door education, targeting Latino students and low-income families.

* Los Angeles Unified School District received $990,000 for outreach calls to families, meetings with part-time and contract employees, targeting individual consumers, full-time adult education students and the part-time and contract employees.

* Sacramento Employment and Training Agency received $1 million for outreach to limited English proficiency individuals, low-wage, part-time workers and families transitioning from welfare to work.

* Service Employees International Union, Local 521 in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, received $1 million for phone calls, door-to-door, community and group events, SEIU-sponsored events targeting uninsured SEIU member households, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Latinos. They will subcontract to SEIU Local 99 to do this.

* Another SEIU unit received $500,000, targeting long-term care workers’ households, multi-racial populations.

* The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center received $1 million for outreach to social justice organizations targeting LGBT communities, primarily people of color.

* The regents of the University of California received $1 million, going to the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. They are planning outreach to consulate offices targeting Latino adults. But this will be done through 13 Latino organization subcontractors.

* Vision y Compromiso received $1 million for outreach in Spanish at ESL and GED classes at adult schools.

* This $37 million in grants is only the first chunk of California’s $190.4 million slated to be spent on  “outreach.”

The full list of grant recipients is available through Covered California.

Part 2 tomorrow

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