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Whopper of the Week: “Kickback” is Far From Accurate

By Bob Brownstein

This week’s whopper appears in a San Jose Inside column by Josh Koehn which discusses the recommendation by county staff that Measure A funds be allocated to the Healthier Kids Foundation,  headed by Kathleen King. Noting that King played a significant role in the campaign to pass Measure A, Koehn asks – coincidence or kickback?

A kickback? Webster defines a kickback as “a secret payment to a person who is in a position to influence a source of income.” But King’s role in the Measure A campaign was totally public.

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women'shealthcare

Looking Ahead: Women and the Affordable Care Act

By Julie Rabinovitz

This is an exciting time for women’s health care.  More than 9 million people now have access to health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, with close to a quarter of those being women who were previously uninsured. Despite the rocky launch of the federal website to sign up for insurance, that total is expected to rise significantly with the enrollment deadline extended to April 15 for those  who started applications before midnight on March 31.

Although U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation as the first open enrollment period came to a close, there is much to celebrate moving forward. Whether or not you were a fan of Sebelius, we should applaud the victories for women’s health care gained during her tenure. In fact, the ACA did more to empower women than ANY single piece of legislation since women gained the right to vote in 1920. Thanks to the ACA:

  • Young adult women are able to stay on their parents’ private health insurance until age 26 
  • Being born a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition 
  • Women can no longer be charged more than men for health insurance 
  • Women can get an appointment with their OB/GYN without having to first be referred by a primary care physician
  • Women can access depression screenings, domestic violence counseling, well-women visits and mammograms at no additional cost
  • All FDA-approved methods of birth control are now covered for women with private health insurance without co-pays or cost-sharing

Now it’s time to leverage the momentum of the millions of newly insured and the new coverage benefits and protections available to them to ensure that women’s health is prioritized, recognized and protected moving forward. Here are 5 things that incoming Secretary Burwell can do to build upon Sebelius’ legacy:

 1.    Protect and preserve the federal Title X family planning program: Even after full implementation of health care reform, millions will remain uninsured. Protecting and expanding Title X, the nation’s only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning services, will help ensure that women can obtain high quality family planning and other related sexual and reproductive health services regardless of documentation or coverage status.

 2.    Protect and expand access to birth control:  More than 99% of women have used at least one contraceptive method, so ensuring birth control access is a vital component of protecting women’s health. The Supreme Court is considering two cases involving for-profit companies who are arguing that the ACA’s contraception coverage mandate violates “their” religious freedom. If the Justices rule in favor of the companies, it could present a slippery slope for giving companies rights previously reserved for individuals and allowing a business owner’s religious beliefs to impact their business policies and practices.

3.    Improve Medicaid provider reimbursement rates: The ACA is expected to move 22% of uninsured women into health coverage. Millions of women will gain coverage in states that are expanding their Medicaid program, allowing more low-income women to qualify for Medicaid. Increasing Medicaid provider reimbursement rates for all women’s health services is essential to ensuring that there are enough medical providers to meet the demand of new Medicaid enrollees.

4.     Targeted outreach and enrollment efforts: Although the second open enrollment period won’t start until November 15th, 2014, HHS needs to develop and implement outreach strategies that specifically target women. Women make 80% of health care decisions for their families so ensuring that women have access to the health services they need and deserve is key to building healthier families and communities.

5.    Continue investing in programs that prevent unintended pregnancy. The United States continues to have the highest rates of teen pregnancy compared to any other developed nation. Abstinence-only sexual education has proven time and time again to be unsuccessful in reducing rates of unplanned teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). We must invest in programs that provide our youth with access to non-judgmental, comprehensive sex education that includes medically-accurate information about contraception. Multiple studies have confirmed that giving teens access to birth control and sex education does NOT increase risky behavior. Unintended pregnancies cost tax payers $12.5 billion so doing more to prevent unintended pregnancy brings a high return on investment.

Julie Rabinovitz is President and CEO of the California Family Health Council

Jenson Mailer Redacted (2)

Jensen Campaign: Dirty or Just Dumb?

By The Left Hook

The political action committee supporting Kevin Jensen for Sheriff can’t seem to get it right.  First they appeared to have violated campaign contribution laws .  Now – believe it or not — they have sent out a mailer that appears to be an invitation to identity theft. 

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Recent Articles

15
Apr
Apple SF tax day protest

Security Officers, Community Supporters Urge Apple to Pay Taxes for Bay Area Upkeep

By Alfredo Fletes

As millions of Americans pay income taxes today, Bay Area security officers and community supporters called on Apple Inc. to pay taxes on some of an estimated $102 billion the company is holding overseas. Activists gathered outside a San Francisco Apple store and encouraged customers to participate in a mock $15 billion “mail-in rebate” to highlight how the company’s unpaid tax revenues could build a stronger Bay Area community.  Read more »

15
Apr
babyW-eyeglasses

Policy Watch: Your weekly tip sheet for what’s going on in your community

By Dennis Raj

 Santa Clara Co. Board of Supervisors

1. Janitorial Services: worker retention and living wage

The County is cutting down on the number of companies it had janitorial contracts with from 6 to 2.  The new contracts with Pride Industries and Universal Janitorial for janitorial services at county offices include requirements to retain workers from the old contractor and make sure those new companies comply with living wage ordinances in the local jurisdictions within the country.   Read more »

14
Apr
samliccardo

Sam Liccardo’s Big Cheat

By Steve Kline

When I filed a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission and the San Jose Ethics Commission against mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo, I did so because I take laws seriously.  Liccardo has cheated his way through the early part of the campaign to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and he shouldn’t get away with it.

Read more »

13
Apr
jumping fishv2 copy

Whopper of the Week: Measure B discussion leads to multiple whoppers

By Bob Brownstein

On Tuesday, April 8th, the San Jose City Council approved an ordinance to provide for the hiring cops or firefighters who are denied disability pensions under Measure B. The discussion of the item provided a rare event – 3 Galactic Whoppers and 1 Mega-Whopper at a single meeting.

Read more »

11
Apr
muddy-hand-prints1

The Dirtiest Campaign

By The Left Hook

Ironically, the dirtiest campaign so far this election season may be the one run by law enforcement officers.  Today’s complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) about the campaign to elect Kevin Jensen Sheriff raises serious questions about legality of Jensen’s campaign activities and the campaign activities of his two sponsors, the Deputy Sheriffs Association (DSA) and the Correctional Peace Officers Association (CPOA).  The complaint, which is attached below, alleges that Jensen , the DSA and the CPOA blatantly violated the legal limit on political contributions. Read more »

10
Apr
bob-kieve_kliv_1994

Bob Kieve is wrong, for once

By Rich Robinson

Recently, Bob Kieve gave a personal opinion on his radio station KLIV that was dead wrong. Kieve attacked Supervisor Dave Cortese and said the most important issue in the Mayor’s race was Labor’s support for him. He opined that such a result would be bad for San Jose.

The real issue in this race is who can bring San Jose together. The false choice of labor versus business is simply a creation of the politics of division that has not served this city well for the last 7 years. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Read more »

9
Apr
freespeech

Mozilla Made the Right Call: Not All Speech is Equal

By Ben Spielberg

Mozilla’s selection of Brendan Eich for CEO on March 24 prompted widespread outrage because of a $1,000 donation he made to the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 campaign in 2008.  Eich resigned ten days after his promotion.

Conor Friedersdorf and Andrew Sullivan are two of the most prominent pro-gay rights writers to denounce Eich’s “forced resignation.”  Friedersdorf worries that the anti-Eich movement will have “a chilling effect on political speech and civic participation.”  Sullivan goes even farther and writes, “This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance.”

Friedersdorf’s and Sullivan’s concerns are understandable, but their arguments paint an inaccurate picture of the effects of Prop 8, confuse the distinction between private and public views, and mistakenly equate two very different types of political speech and behavior. Read more »

8
Apr
Medi-cal cuts

“Is California Really ‘Progressive’ For Low-Income Patients?”

By Lupe Rodriguez

California made front-page headlines recently for passing some of the most progressive laws in the country on issues involving reproductive rights and health. And, it’s true, we did pass a groundbreaking law that increases access to abortion services by expanding the types of clinicians who can provide them as well as passing laws to increase the medical privacy protections for people who have private insurance.  

But these “progressive” laws benefit the middle class more than they do the poorest communities who need the laws most.   Read more »

7
Apr
Pay To

The Crime We Don’t Discuss in Silicon Valley

By Ruth Silver Taube and Maria Noel Fernandez

 Joe had worked at a local restaurant for two years for just $7 an hour, with no overtime pay and forced to work off the clock after his shift with only a 10 minute lunch break.  The last straw came when three paychecks bounced.  When he asked for his pay, he was immediately fired.  The good news – he filed a claim with the Labor Commission and won.  The bad news- it’s been two years, Joe hasn’t seen a dime and his employer continues to operate his business. Read more »

2
Apr
filipino workers

The Pivotal Role of Filipino Farmworkers

By William Chiang

A few days before what would’ve been Cesar Chavez’s 87th birthday, a biographic film of his life was released in major theaters.  The film chronicles the birth of the American labor movement and tells the story of how Chavez used his platform of nonviolence to combat the gross violation of farm workers’ rights. Chavez ignited a civil and human rights movement grounded on the power of grassroots movements that we still continue to move forward today.

 In light of the triumphant stories exhibited in the film, the pivotal role of Filipino-American farmworkers was underrepresented. Filipino farm workers were on the front lines of the breakthrough Delano grape strike of 1965. Read more »

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