Calif. has jump on implementing health care law

3:14 PM, Jun 28, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA  -With about seven million Californians, or nearly 20 percent of the population, uninsured, the Golden State wins big under the Supreme Court ruling that upholds the Affordable Health care Act.

* As much as $15 billion a year in new federal funding is slated to arrive to help implement it.

* Bridge insurance programs that now cover low-income people and those with pre-existing conditions will remain intact until health care reform is fully implemented.

* The California Health Benefits Exchange 2014 can proceed to set up a marketplace for consumers to buy affordable insurance and maybe even get subsidies.  

Exchange Director Peter Lee says the exchange could start pre-enrolling in about 18 months.

"We have an opportunity to change healthcare for the future," Lee said." To do that, we need to get everyone in the tent, to get everyone insured."

Sandy Adams couldn't believe the ruling ... she can now take comfort in knowing that her grown daughter who has epilepsy will never be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition when she buys insurance from the health exchange.

"It was just a huge profound relie," Adams said. "And the hope's back again that maybe this is going to be okay for my daughter."

But critics still have their doubts: There are no price controls and the Affordable Care Act requires California to spend up to $6 billion over five years to expand Medi-Cal, the health care program for the poor.

Assem Dan Logue, R-Chico, is thinking about a ballot measure to prevent California from further implementing President Obama's plan because the state doesn't have the money.

"Tt's going to come from the university. It's going to come from schools. It's going to come from law enforcement. We could have the greatest health care system in the world, but we won't have any school," Logue said.

The California Endowment says California families pay an average of $1,400 extra a year in premiums to cover the medical bills of the uninsured.

Nannette Miranda


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