Rural counties to implement health reform, together

About this project

The smallest and most isolated counties in California have banded together to implement the expanded health coverage mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as health reform. Under the bureaucratic umbrella of the relatively obscure County Medical Services Program, they will seek to provide the state’s poorest, most isolated patients with a “medical home,” something like a publicly funded HMO. But even as they forge ahead, they ask fundamental questions: Where will we find the primary care doctors needed? The specialists? The enrollment staff? And will the state and federal officials in charge of distributing the matching funds in support of the effort do so quickly enough to keep the program alive?


Rural Counties to Implement Reform

Thirty-four of California’s smallest counties agreed to pool their resources Thursday and participate in the state’s “Bridge to Health Reform,” a federally financed $10-billion expansion of public health coverage that is th


John Gonzales

Senior writer John Gonzales specializes in the demographics of health policy. He was most recently based in New Orleans as Southern Regional Correspondent for the Associated Press. He covered efforts to rebuild from Hurricane Katrina, as well as immigration and the shifting demographics of The South. Gonzales previously was Hispanic Affairs reporter at Newsday -- a beat that took him from New York's emerging Mexican neighborhoods, to the U.S. border region, to rural Mexican towns. His "Texas Smuggling" articles won the National Association of Hispanic Journalists best breaking news award in 2004. He was also awarded The Freedom Forum’s North American Journalist Exchange fellowship in 2001. Gonzales spent the early part of his 15-year journalism career on the staffs of The Daily Breeze and the Gardena Valley News. He is a USC Annenberg graduate, with honors, and a dual major in political science. He is also a Spanish speaker and graduate of the Los Angeles Times Minority Editorial Training Program, or METPro. 

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