February 13, 2019
By Beth Ruyak
Capital Public Radio’s Insight With Beth Ruyak
February 13, 2019
California Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out his priorities for 2019 in his first State of the State address Tuesday. While a lot of attention went to Newsom’s calls to scale back the state’s bullet train and water tunnels plans — big projects backed by former Gov. Jerry Brown — the governor tackled a lot in the 40-minute speech.
CapRadio environment reporter Ezra Romero explains one proposal to levy a tax to help pay for drinking water in communities that still don’t have an adequate supply. Health care reporter Sammy Caiola weighs in on the master plan for California’s aging population. PolitiFact reporter Chris Nichols evaluates statements on immigration.
Beth Ruyak: Healthcare coverage might have been expected, but let’s listen to part of the speech that for some people could have been a bit of a surprise.
Excerpt from Governor Newsom’s State of the State: Now, let’s talk about something too often overlooked: The Golden State is getting grayer. We need to get ready for the major demographic challenge headed our way.
Sammy Caiola: He’s right. Seniors are often overlooked. In his budget speech earlier last month, he mostly focused on children and childhood trauma and kids; there wasn’t as much about the older population but it is growing. There are going to be 4 million more seniors by 2030, that’s from the Public Policy Institute of California. And that population is going to nearly double over the next two decades. But there aren’t going to be as many working age adults to take care of those people. So the question is: where are they going to go? Is there going to be enough long-term care? Or is there going to be enough caregiving and in-home supportive workers? So, big big problems to solve.
Beth Ruyak: Again, there’s background and context to this issue coming forward. I understand that there had been an advocacy group that was calling for the kind of plan he announced yesterday. Can you tell us more about that?
Sammy Caiola: Yeah, there is this group called We Stand With Seniors that’s really made this their main focus. It’s a public awareness and education campaign. They had actually talked to Newsom about this on the campaign trail. He actually committed to making a map – a road map for Californians – a Master Plan. He said, even before he was elected, that he would do this. So you know they’ve been waiting on him to come forward with that. And already we’ve seen legislation introduced that sort of asks the state to do a needs assessment and to map out that Master Plan. Yeah, We Stand With Seniors applauded his speech yesterday and they actually said that they think he’s the first governor in recent history to event talk about aging. Here’s a little bit of what he said:
Excerpt from Governor Newsom’s State of the State: It’s time for a new Master Plan on Aging in California. We’ve deferred for too long! It must address: person-centered care, the patchwork of public services, social isolation, bed-locked seniors in need of transportation, the nursing shortage, and demand for In-Home Supportive Services that far outpaces its capacity.
Sammy Caiola: I just want to unpack two quick things from that. One is social isolation, which we’ve seen to be a huge problem especially for seniors in rural parts of California where they may be in their homes and don’t have transportation. They can go days and days without seeing people, which we’ve learned is a chronic health risk. Being lonely really affects your mental and physical state. He also drew out the provider shortage, which health experts have been talking about for years. We know that in a matter of five to ten years, there aren’t going to be enough doctors. Not just for seniors, but the whole population. Seniors do have some really unique medical needs and – as we said – they are growing. It’s going to be a big push to get more medical providers for them.