RELEASE: Yes on Prop 16 Campaign Announces New $500,000 Contribution from Blue Shield of California
OAKLAND, CA — Today the Yes on Proposition 16 campaign announced a major contribution from one of California’s leading health plan providers: Blue Shield of California. The $500,000 contribution comes at a key moment, as the campaign continues to reach millions of voters — many of whom are currently voting — virtually and in the media.
Moreover, Blue Shield of California’s support of Proposition 16 underscores the company’s commitment to the core values of the measure — which will fight systemic racism and sexism by ensuring every Californian is on a level playing field, and has equal opportunity to succeed.
“We’re proud to support Proposition 16 as an important step toward addressing the inequities that exist across California,” said Kimberley Goode, senior vice president, External Affairs, Blue Shield of California. “The disproportionate health impacts of COVID-19 alone are telling — with African-American and Latino communities seeing much significantly higher rates of infection and death than others. What we have now is not working for everyone, and we must do more to become a more diverse, equitable and inclusive state. Proposition 16 moves us in that direction.”
Proposition 16 will have enormous positive impacts for the health and wellness of Californians — in part by ensuring California shores up its profound Black and Latino physician shortage. California’s nearly 15 million Latinos are served by just 7,000 Latino physicians, and only 5% of non-Latino physicians speak Spanish. In a society free of discrimination, California would have 60,000 Latino physicians — but we are short 53,000, a stark reminder of the results of decades of unequal opportunity.
Meanwhile, just 3% of California’s physicians are Black — which has demonstrably negative effects on their treatment and health outcomes. Without affirmative action programs, those numbers likely will not change — as since the ban went into place, acceptance rates for students of color at California medical schools have fallen. Despite efforts by UC medical schools as well as California’s private medical schools to increase diversity without the help of affirmative action programs, in-state acceptance rates for students of color never recovered.
By lifting the ban on affirmative action, Proposition 16 will help close these gaps. Affirmative action programs have been proven to level the playing field. For example, from 1973 to 1992, Latino graduates from UC medical schools each year leapt from 1 to nearly 100 thanks to affirmative action programs — and we have every reason to believe a similar trend would unfold for Latino students, Black students, and many more, should Proposition 16 win on November 3.
In supporting Prop 16, Blue Shield of California is joined by hundreds of prominent current and former elected officials, activists, and advocacy groups including Senator Kamala Harris, Governor Newsom, founders of Black Lives Matter, Bernice King, Dolores Huerta, the NAACP, and the ACLU.