Need Stitches? Just $743 Each!

Need Stitches? Just $743 Each!

Do you know how much your medical care really costs? According to Time magazine and the New York Times, the answer is—the sky is the limit. Earlier this year in March, Time ran a special report titled Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, and a few days ago, the NYT published an article called As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500. Time magazine revealed that some U.S. hospitals charge tens of thousands of dollars more for the same procedure as some other hospitals, even if they’re only a few miles apart. The NYT article profiled someone who got charged $2,229.11 for three stiches, and someone else $1,696…
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Signs of Inequality

Signs of Inequality

Monday morning, Greenlining sponsored a forum on equity issues in California’s state budget, featuring Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and a panel of representatives from groups advocating for policies that promote fairness and justice in a state where a few are doing really well and millions more are barely keeping  their heads above water. It was a fascinating discussion, hopeful and worrisome all at once, but it was what I saw on the way to it that got to me. Walking up Sansome Street from the Montgomery BART station in San Francisco’s financial district, I found myself walking by a homeless person on the sidewalk as, right behind him, a…
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Not-for-Profit Hospitals & Community Benefit: The Way Forward

Not-for-Profit Hospitals & Community Benefit: The Way Forward

On November 20th, Greenlining hosted a dynamic briefing on not-for-profit hospitals’ community benefit, co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Bob Wieckowski (25th District) and Rob Bonta (18th District) and focusing on how not-for-profit hospitals must be more transparent and invest more community benefit dollars into low-income communities and communities of color so that they don’t get sick in the first place. First, let me explain some terms: Not-for-profit hospitals receive tax-exempt status in exchange for fulfilling a duty to improve community health, a duty that is required by both state and federal laws. And while not-for-profit hospitals are tax-exempt nonprofit institutions, many of them are, in the 21st century, huge enterprises that often…
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Covered California May Face Voter Registration Lawsuit

Covered California May Face Voter Registration Lawsuit

It’s the law: Public assistance agencies have to help people register to vote. But one of California’s newest and highest-profile agencies isn’t doing it. Back in May, the Secretary of State formally designated Covered California – the new health insurance marketplace created by health care reform — as a public assistance agency under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). This means that the agency must provide voter registration services to consumers. Advocates have been engaging Covered California ever since, to ensure voter registration services would be integrated into its application services by its October 1st launch date. You may recall my previous blog post about the tremendous potential Covered California…
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Move Over Movember: Why ‘Obamacare’ is important too

Move Over Movember: Why ‘Obamacare’ is important too

Men like a lot of things. They like sports. They like cars. They like telling you how much they like sports and cars. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. But while lots of men really do like sports and cars, one thing men often don’t like is going to the doctor. Study after study has shown that men are less likely than women to visit the doctor or pay attention to their lab results. This could explain why the average lifespan for men is six years shorter than women, and why men have a higher mortality rate than women for things like heart disease, stroke, and COPD. In fact, men have…
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Forgotten in California

Forgotten in California

Last week Greenlining was in Washington, D.C. to meet with financial regulators and high ranking members of Congress. We provided firsthand accounts of the uneven pace of economic recovery, and made suggestions on ways to expand economic opportunities. One issue we raised with regulators and banks is that Fresno and other San Joaquin Valley communities should be what are known as “full scope assessment areas.” Full scope assessment areas are an important part of a bank’s Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluation (see my prior post for details about this important law).  These are the communities where regulators pay extra close attention to a bank’s community development performance. Regulators can’t…
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