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California Bill Would Create New Low Income Health Program

Aired 8/16/12 on KPBS News.

Under the federal health care law, states have the option of creating a ‘basic health program.’

A bill before California lawmakers this week would create a new publicly-funded health plan for low-income residents.

Creating a ‘basic health program’ is a state option under the federal health law. It would cover some of the people otherwise eligible for California’s health benefit exchange.

Ken Jacobs of the UC Berkeley Labor Center did an analysis of the plan. He says the program would be more affordable than the health exchange, which could result in more people covered overall.

But, he says, it would remove hundreds of thousands of people from the health insurance exchange. “Which would limit the exchange’s bargaining power in the market, and importantly may affect its ability to generate reforms that would lower the rate of premium cost growth over time.”

The Labor Center analysis was commissioned by the California Health Benefit Exchange, which opposed the bill last year.

The bill will be heard in an Assembly Committee tomorrow.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 16, 2012 at 10:29 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Name of the bill, please. And how would this impact/overlap the Obamacare plan?

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | August 16, 2012 at 12:02 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

M.A.,

I'm sure the plan would closely resemble the current programs which are part of the Medicaid Expansion component of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). If you want to know what it would be like, browse the Web for information on Lower Income Health Programs, which about 20 of our most populous counties use (including ours). and Path2Health, which is basically the same program except it's used by 34 of our rural counties (including Imperial).

Funding for those two programs expires in 2014 when the Insurance Exchanges kick in. Had the ACA and its "mandate/tax" been struck down by SCOTUS, further Medicaid Expansion would've been championed by liberals (like us). In past exchanges with folks like Benz72, we never got down to this level of specificity when debating health care because he never got past the "why help those in need?" rhetoric.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | August 16, 2012 at 3:03 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

It is SB 703.

I'm just amazed that some in the Legislature are still trying to find ways to spend more and more and more and more money that California doesn't have.

If they are trying to fund this with federal money, go for it. I hope they grab as much as they can.

If not, this bill will be yet another terrible blow to the stability and well-being of all Californians.

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