July 2013 Newsletter

July 29, 2013


I'll be out in the community next month at several events. These meetings are a great opportunity for you to speak to me about any issue or concern related to state government.

Join me for a one-on-one discussion over a cup of coffee.
Friday, Aug. 16
8 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Roy's Station Coffee and Teas
197 Jackson St., San Jose

To RSVP . . .

A free seminar showing seniors how to spot and avoid scams.
Friday, Aug. 23
1 p.m.-3 p.m., Almaden Community Center
6445 Camden Ave., San Jose

To RSVP . . .

Do something good for the environment.
Saturday, Aug. 24
9 a.m.-11 a.m. Weather permitting.
Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
Campbell Park, located at Campbell and Gilman avenues.
Trash bags, gloves and trash sticks will be provided.
Dress appropriately for the weather and wear sturdy footwear and clothing.
To RSVP . . .


I have been a firm believer that increasing access to health care, especially preventative health care, can save California taxpayers billions in emergency room costs. It's a prudent fiscal policy but most of all it's the way a just and humane society should treat its children and its elderly. Health care is not a privilege, it is a right.

To make health care for all a reality, the landmark Affordable Care Act, or ACA, starts Jan. 1, expanding access to public and private health coverage to low-income people who have been previously ineligible for health insurance. Millions in our state soon will be able to receive Medi-Cal or premium and cost-sharing subsidies to help them buy insurance though Covered California, a state-sanctioned marketplace for affordable private health insurance.

In anticipation of the Affordable Care Act, Governor Brown convened the Legislature in January in a special session to consider and pass laws necessary to implement the new federal program. As result, the Legislature passed five bills to address the Governor's proclamation.

Those bills are:

  • SB1X 1 -- Ensures that Medi-Cal recipients newly eligible under the ACA receive the same services and benefits as current Medi-Cal recipients. Expands Medi-Cal coverage to include new mental health and substance abuse services and expands coverage to all former foster youth up to age 26. Makes recent legal immigrant adults eligible for Medi-Cal benefits as specified. The measure also simplifies the eligibility, enrolment and renewal processes for Medi-Cal.
  • AB1X 1 -- Expands Medi-Cal coverage to include adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level who are under age 65, not pregnant, and not otherwise currently eligible for Medi-Cal. Includes provisions that streamline Medi-Cal eligibility to a new simplified income standard for families, children, and newly eligible Medi-Cal recipients. This new standard does not apply to seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • SB2X 1 and AB2X 1 -- Prohibits insurers from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions. More specifically, insurers or group plans cannot discriminate based on previous health claims, medical history, genetic information, disability, or other health-status factors. Requires health plans to market and sell all of the plan's health benefits to all individuals and dependents in their respective service areas. Permits rating factors based only on age, geographic location and family size.
  • SB3X 1 -- Creates a health insurance “bridge” plan for low-income Californians, the parents of Medi-Cal and Health Family Program-eligible individuals, and those moving from Medi-Cal coverage to subsidized coverage through Covered California. The bridge plan allows individuals to keep their current health plan when they shift health subsidy programs, preventing disruptions and improving continuity of care. For example, life changes such as the birth of a child, marriage or divorce, getting or losing a job, receiving a pay raise or reduction, and the aging of a child from coverage all have an effect on income eligibility.

To help consumers understand their health coverage choices, I am sponsoring two free Healthcare and Medicare Forums on:

  • Saturday, Oct. 5, 9 a.m. to noon
    Campbell Community Center, 1 W. Campbell Ave
  • Saturday, Oct. 19, 9 a.m.-noon
    Mayfair Community Center, 2039 Kammerer Avenue, San Jose

Community representatives from Covered California and Medicare Expert, Connie Corrales, of the Council on Aging Silicon Valley, will explain the new changes and give up-to-date information. These special meetings will enable you to take control of your healthcare costs and your health!

To provide more information, the UC Berkeley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment has compiled various resources, including an interactive map illustrating the Medi-Cal expansion and two comprehensive data books addressing facts about the ACA and its impact on specific California regions.

  • The Interactive Health Care Map gives a geographic breakdown of how many Californians will be eligible for Medi-Cal and Covered California subsidies in 2014. The map includes links to additional information about the newly eligible, such as income level, current insurance status, age, gender, and race.
  • Additionally, the California Calculator allows users to determine how much their family may save on health insurance premiums in 2014 under the ACA. The calculator reflects the recently released Covered California premium estimates and is also available on the Covered California website. A National Calculator also is available.

Over five million Californians could benefit from coverage offered through Covered California; two million will be eligible for subsidies from the federal government. I urge you to visit the Covered California website or call 888-975-1142 to learn how to enroll and select the correct plan for you and your family members.

By getting coverage, you will be not only be taking care of your own health but helping to halt rising health care costs that affect all Californians.


Mark Aug. 9 on your calendar - ground will be broken to commence the creation of the Martial Cottle Park, a 257-acre parcel of undeveloped land in South San Jose that will become a living symbol of our valley's illustrious agrarian past. The 10 a.m. ceremony will be held at the corner of Chynoweth and Snell avenues.

The land was acquired by the Santa Clara County Department Parks and Recreation and the California State Parks through a donation from owner Walter Cottle Lester, who wanted to see his family's homestead preserved as a historic agriculture park, a reminder of the Santa Clara Valley's heritage before it became known as Silicon Valley. When finished, the park will feature trails, educational and interpretive programs, with recreational and visitor facilities. More than half the park will remain in production.