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Health in Los Angeles

Health

What Can I Do?

Support these organizations throughout Los Angeles County that improve the health of our communities.

CCF’s Centinela Valley Medical and Community Funds helps eligible hospitals and community-based organizations improve community engagement and ensure access to quality health care and preventive services for the economically disadvantaged residents of the Centinela Valley and surrounding areas near South Los Angeles. The fund serves Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lennox, Los Angeles, El Segundo, Watts, Compton and Lawndale. 

Here’s the Situation

  • Over one in three Californians benefit from Medi-Cal. Under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, grew from 8.6 million people in 2014 to 13.4 million in 2017.
  • Over one million low-income residents of Los Angeles County gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) 
  • Los Angeles County’s 350 community clinic sites treated 23% more patients in 2015 than they did in 2010 — serving 1.5 million people each year. The majority (60%) of the patients at community clinics are covered by Medi-Cal.
  • However, approximately 1.3 million residents of Los Angeles do not have health insurance and have limited access to preventive screenings, are unable to manage asthma or diabetes, or do not receive services for mental health or substance use conditions. (Reference).
  • Approximately 145,000 people who are not eligible for coverage under ACA or Medi-Cal because of their immigration status are enrolled in a local program called My Health LA through which they can access primary care at local community clinics (reference). 
  • Prior to the ACA, eligibility for Medi-Cal depended on a variety of factors, including income, household size, family status, disability and more. Under the ACA, residents can qualify for Medi-Cal on the basis of income alone if their household makes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level — that's $16,395 for an individual and $33,534 for a family of four.

 

Where Do We Go From Here?

The potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have a huge impact on health care in California. Not only could many patients lose health insurance coverage but clinics that were able to expand services under the ACA might have to scale back should the law be repealed.

Fate of Medicaid

Enrollment in Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, is up to 13.4 million people, which represents 1 in 3 California residents. The low-income health program was expanded under the Affordable Care Act when the federal government offered states more money if they let more people into their Medicaid programs. If the ACA is repealed and the Medicaid expansion is dismantled, California could lose $20 billion or more in federal funding (reference).

Community Clinics

Over the past few years, community clinics that often operate in low-income communities have been able to expand as more patients have gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act.  Clinics have added services such as dentistry, specialists and mental health care. Many patients treated at these clinics live in poverty and in areas that have high rates of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. As the clinics have expanded, patients have been able to learn more about managing their illnesses and improving their health. For example, a patient who might have only visited urgent care when he or she ran out of insulin prior to the ACA, is now referred to an endocrinologist as part of his or her treatment at the clinic. The expanded services at community clinics are going a long way in improving the health of communities in L.A. County, but repeal of the ACA could halt momentum going forward.