Activists Want Covered California To Track Race More Closely
The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, a left-wing group seeking equal access to health care among minority communities, has asked Covered California to increase its collection of demographic data.
On May 22nd, CPEHN sent a letter to Covered California's executive director requesting the state do more to collect data on those signing up for coverage. The group said it was "disappointed" that 22% of Californians had chosen not to answer race and ethnicity questions. They suggested this was because the questions had been relegated to a portion of the application which was labeled "optional data."
CPEHN wants Covered California to move this section up on the application in order to gather more data. They request that the question of ethnicity be asked prior to the question on race. The group also wants new questions added to cover "sexual orientation and gender identity." "The lack of enrollment data on gender identity and sexual orientation means that Covered California cannot adequately measure the effectiveness of its outreach and education to these communities," the letter states.
Another change recommended by the group is to not have English as the default language for the web application. The letter states, "Respondents filling out the online application are automatically assigned “English” as their primary language unless they proactively choose another language from the drop-down menu. CalHEERs should be programmed so the language question is mandatory with a “decline to state” option and consumers should be allowed to choose their spoken and written language."
CPEHN's interest in additional data may not be that controversial, but the group's health care agenda is another story. Health equality, in their view, requires expanding insurance to undocumented immigrants. The group supports a "Health for All" bill which would expand Medi-Cal coverage (or some equivalent paid for by taxpayers) to undocumented immigrants. They write, "By ensuring everyone has access to health care, we can improve the health of our entire community, limit the overcrowding of emergency rooms, and reduce the costs of healthcare in California."
The idea that further expanding Medi-Cal to undocumented immigrants would reduce crowding in emergency rooms is undercut by evidence that suggests the expansion of Medi-Cal has already led to increased crowding. Such crowding has been reported previously at Breitbart News, and a surge in ER use has also been reported in other states where Medicaid was expanded.