The building blocks of our coalition came together in 2000, out of grave concern about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization, especially in the context of a broad movement against anti-poverty efforts. We realized that in addition to federal issues, important policy and budget decisions were being made at the state level that deeply affected our members’ lives. To carry out the focused work to protect California’s safety net, the coalition formed California Partnership in 2003.
Fighting for adequate, low-cost, quality healthcare has always been one of California Partnership’s core issues. Over the last five years, CAP has played a significant role in the health care reform movement and achieving robust implementation through the county based Low-Income Health Programs. CAP was one of the state lead organizations in the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) Campaign, is currently one of five lead, statewide organizations working on ACA implementation and co-Directing the California Health and Human Services Network (HHSN). CAP is also on the executive committee for the Having Our Say Coalition. Using our health rights curriculum, CAP has trained low-income leaders to better understand the complexities of the health care system, to examine models for change and to increase their participation in civic life and fight to reduce poverty.
CAP has six active chapters located throughout California: San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside with additional members in San Diego, the Central Coast, Fresno, Bakersfield, the Coachella Valley, and Sacramento.
The Coordinating Committee, CAP’s governing body, is comprised of eleven representatives from eight member organizations around the state to ensure that our priorities and programs are a reflection of the needs of the membership. Eight of the eleven members of the Coordinating Committee are women. Ten of the eleven Coordinating Committee members are of people of color. The Coordinating Committee meets monthly by conference call to plan activities, discuss strategy and evaluate CAP’s work.
The rollout of the ACA and the changes that it heralds means a shifting landscape for low-income Californians. Since 2008, California Partnership has provided leadership across the state in the health care reform movement. CAP was instrumental in providing information and training, advocacy guidance, and mobilizing low-income communities to urge passage of the ACA. In implementation, CAP has worked on increasing the same awareness about the county run Low-Income Health Programs (LIHP) and has become an increasingly trusted messenger in hard-to-reach, low-income communities advocating for expanded and accessible coverage. As a result, CAP is well-positioned to strengthen its health care networks, continue to increase capacity, educate our communities, guide their advocacy for accessible coverage and care, and inform policymakers about healthcare issues affecting the underserved.