Given the extent of our state’s health care crisis, California would especially benefit from health reform:
EXPANDED COVERAGE: California has one of the worst insurance rates in the country. Health reform would cover most Californians, reducing the uninsured by roughly two-thirds. According to researchers at UC-Berkeley, close to 4 million Californians who were uninsured, in the individual market or had unaffordable employer sponsored insurance in 2007 would qualify for Medicaid or subsidized coverage in the exchange. This would provide relief to our beleaguered health system and safety-net.
STABILIZED EMPLOYER-BASED COVERAGE: California has one of the worst rates of employers offering coverage. Health reform would provide over $4 billion in new tax credits for California small business in the next ten years to help them provide coverage.
SUBSIDIES FOR LOW-WAGE WORKERS: California has a disproportionately large percentage of low-income workers. Health reform would expand Medi-Cal to individuals and families below 133% of the poverty level (over 2 million Californians will be newly covered), and provide significant subsidies to families under 400% FPL. Californians with an income of $14,404 a year would save $5,159 on average on premiums and out-of-pocket costs under the proposal compared to what they would spend in the current individual market. Those with an income of $43,320 a year would save $904 a year under the proposal. No one will have to pay more than a percentage of their income, on a sliding scale basis, for an insurance premium.
A BETTER WAY TO BUY COVERAGE: California’s individual insurance market is the biggest in the nation, but leaves Californians at most risk of being denied for “pre-existing conditions,” rescissions, and other insurer abuses. Health reform provides a new Health Insurance Exchange where insurers can’t rescind or deny coverage for “pre-existing conditions,” there are standards to prevent “junk” insurance, and consumers can make better comparisons between plans.
RECOGNITION OF OUR DIVERSE POPULATION: Health reforms recognizes the growing diversity of California and the nation, and the need for investment in language access; workforce development; and other provisions for our diverse population.