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Our Laguna: Community Clinic supporters meet fundraising challenge

May 10, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • From left to right, Marv Johnson, Bob Whalen, Charlotte Masarik and Kristen Whalen attend the Clinic’s Cinco de Mayo party.
From left to right, Marv Johnson, Bob Whalen, Charlotte… (Courtesy Jessica…)

Laguna Beach Community Clinic supporters met the $10,000 challenge issued by resident Ron Beasley and clinic President Dr. Pam Lawrence at the annual Cinco de Mayo fundraiser.

Lawrence and Beasley kicked in $5,000 each, and guests responded with donations of $8,000 at the event, followed by email pledges and snail mail checks for an estimated total of $60,000, according to Monica Prado, clinic development director.

Mayor Jane Egly was the first to respond to the challenge. On behalf of herself and her husband, Paul, Egly donated the first $100 and offered her own challenge to the guests at the event.

"If this catches another $100 from you, we are throwing in another $100 and if it attracts another $100, we will throw in a third $100, which does not want to be lonely," Egly said.

Donations are needed to overcome the shortfall facing the clinic due to decreases in cigarette and tobacco taxes and the erosion of government programs at a time when more people than ever need affordable medical care, Lawrence said.

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The decreased funding isn't just the clinic's problem; it is everyone's problem, Egly said.

"We are a community that cares," she said. "We are a community that steps up and helps out. And because we care, we are here to help with dollars so the fabulous folks at the clinic can provide good health care to all.

"The clinic needs more help because of the recession, increase in need and less income. We have more folks — friends, family and neighbors — who have jobs or their jobs were cut way back or their health insurance benefit was dropped or it has become so expensive that they cannot pay the premiums."

Lawrence provided some alarming statistics on health care in California.

•In 1994, private insurance covered 70% of the working population. By 2010, the percentage had plummeted to 47%.

•UCLA Center for Health Policy Research revised the number of uninsured Californians upward from 6.9 million to 8.2 million.

•53% of uninsured children are members of families in which the head of the household has a full-time job.

Since 1970, the clinic has provided care for the uninsured and underinsured, regardless of the patient's ability to pay. Services originally were free; now most patients pay at least something for their care, Lawrence said.

"But the majority of health-care dollars come from other sources — philanthropy, grants and government reimbursement programs," Lawrence said.

Government sources are drying up, she said.

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