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Report Highlights Steps To Make Health Insurance More Affordable In California

A mother and daughter wait to meet with an enrollment counselor to sign up fo...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: A mother and daughter wait to meet with an enrollment counselor to sign up for health insurance at a Covered California event in Sacramento, Feb. 12, 2015.

Despite financial assistance available through the Affordable Care Act, health insurance remains out of reach for many Californians.

A new report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center outlines some concrete steps the state could take to solve the problem.

The report said with the expiration of the federal mandate to buy insurance next year, California could impose its own mandate with a tax penalty for violators. The state could use the money to help consumers pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Another idea would be for California to offer state subsidies on top of the federal subsidies available through the Affordable Care Act.

Laurel Lucia, director of the health care program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, said it's not a radical idea.

"Massachusetts and Vermont have already implemented a policy like this," she said. "They provide additional financial assistance with premiums, to certain people who are eligible under the Affordable Care Act.”

The report found affordability remains a challenge for the 2.3 million Californians who buy insurance on the individual market, and the 1.2 million Californians who are eligible to buy through Covered California but remain uninsured.

Despite financial assistance available through the Affordable Care Act, health insurance remains out of reach for many Californians. A new report from the UC Berkeley Labor Center outlines some concrete steps the state could take to solve the problem.

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