Health and Human Services
Jennifer Kent Appointed as Director of the Department of Health Care Services
This week Governor Brown appointed Jennifer Kent as Director of the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), succeeding Director Toby Douglas. Kent formerly served DHCS as Associate Director in 2011 and Deputy Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs from 2004 to 2007. She has also served as Deputy Legislative Secretary in the Office of the Governor during the Schwarzenegger Administration and as Associate Secretary of Legislative Affairs at the California Health and Human Services Agency. Most recently, Kent worked for the Local Health Plans of California; where she has served as Executive Director since 2013.
CSAC wishes to congratulate Jennifer Kent on her appointment; we look forward to continued collaboration with the Department of Health Care Services.
The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released a report on the remaining uninsured entitled “ Which Californians will Lack Health Insurance under the Affordable Care Act? ” Recall the release of their 2012 report “ After Millions of Californians Gain Health Coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Who Will remain Uninsured ”, which initially projected that roughly 3.1 to 4 million Californians will remain uninsured in 2019. This report – based on updated projections from the California Simulation of Insurance Markets (CalSIM) model – projects that between 2.7 to 3.4 million individuals will remain uninsured in 2019. Of those projected to remain uninsured:
- Half will be undocumented immigrants, not eligible for coverage under the ACA;
- Others will be eligible for coverage, but will remain uninsured due to several factors including, but not limited to a challenging enrollment process, inability to afford coverage, and concerns of immigration-related consequences.
Please view the full report, linked above, which delves into greater details regarding the demographics of the remaining uninsured.
Little Hoover Commission Report on Mental Health Services Act
The Little Hoover Commission released a report entitled “ Promises Still to Keep: A Decade of the Mental Health Services Act ”. This report explores the implementation of the Mental Health Services Act, which was passed as a ballot initiative, roughly a decade ago. The LHC calls out a need for stronger state oversight over MHSA dollars, which are currently valued as greater than $1 billion dollars. Additionally the Commission addresses the inability to measure the impact of these dollars; specifically whether the dollars made progress in addressing mental illness.
The full report is linked above. CSAC, along with our county affiliates will be monitoring discussions, policies and/or hearings stemming from this report.
This week, Department of Public Health Director Ron Chapman warned about the hazards of electronic cigarettes. Director Chapman highlighted the following concerns:
- E-cigarettes contain at least 10 chemicals deemed as toxic by California
- There has been a rise in e-cigarette use by young people due to variations of flavors such as bubble gum, gummi bear and cherry.
- Children are at risk of poisoning, in part because the liquids used in e-cigarettes can be absorbed through the skin.
Additionally, Director Chapman expressed concern of E-cigarettes being a gateway to traditional cigarettes. CSAC will continue to monitor bills related to E-cigarettes during this legislative session.
SB 140 (Leno) – Watch
Introduced January 26, 2015
SB 140, as introduced by Senator Leno, would change the definition of the Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) to include electronic cigarettes. By doing so, furnishing electronic cigarettes to minors would be a misdemeanor. CSAC currently has a watch position on this bill, but will continue to monitor the bill as it progresses through the legislative process.