Our Obligation to Educate California Consumers about Their New Health Care Rights

Our foundation just began a major statewide consumer education effort to let people know about what's in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and how it might help them, especially those benefits rolling out this year that will enhance the peace of mind of Californians when it comes to their health coverage. In fact, a number of those measures kick in on September 23rd.
Civic and community leaders and California Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado joined us to launch the initial $5 million phase of this non-partisan, multi-year, statewide education campaign that will initially target three key groups to inform them about new provisions in the law: Latinos, the business community and young adults.
Our board of directors approved this $5 million education effort for one very simple reason: poll after poll and survey after survey demonstrates that, in general, far too many Americans do not understand what is in the legislation that became law last March.
Moreover, the sad state of our nation's political discourse - the media obsession with the fight instead of the substance of the new health care law - has completely eclipsed any fact-based education about what implementation of the law means for Americans. The success of this new health law is in the interest of everyone. We hope that what we are doing with our partner organizations here in California will provide a model for other foundations in other states to educate their populations about the changes in the law.
With a mission to improve access to health care and improve health status in Californians, we are mission-obligated to invest resources in an effort to provide dispassionate, fact-based information about the Affordable Care Act. From a strategic basis, the health-promoting, disease prevention provisions of the legislation are consistent with our foundation's new 10-year Building Healthy Communities effort, which focuses on improved health outcomes for children and youth in low-income communities.
And, starting on September 23rd, insurance companies will no longer be able to drop the health coverage of people who develop serious illnesses, and they can no longer deny health coverage to children with pre-existing health conditions. Furthermore, young adults will be able to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26. These peace of mind provisions alone represent major gains for families.
Aside from improving the health of all Californians, successful implementation of Affordable Care Act is critical for California and other states' bottom lines. When it is fully implemented, the new health care law will bring in more than $120 billion federal dollars over the next 10 years that will be invested in the health and well-being of Californians and their communities.
The proportion of Latinos in our nation lacking health insurance is significantly higher than any other demographic group. This fact, combined with our research which shows that 76% of California Latino adults said they did not know anything about the law, did not understand it, or needed more information about it, led us to begin our education effort on this front, including our Spanish-language resources webpage and a statewide 60-second television spot.
This new law represents an historic opportunity to bring fairness and improved health to our nation. Here at The California Endowment we are doing what we can to ensure that all Californians know about it.

LINKS
Affordable Care Act link to http://www.calendow.org/healthreform/index.html
Building Healthy Communities link to http://www.calendow.org/healthycommunities/
www.calendow.org/salud link to http://www.calendow.org/salud.aspx