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The effort for quality, affordable health care for all has a rich history. Health Access is proud to host these comprehensive electronic archives of key campaigns and moments.

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pdf Coverage When It Counts

What does it mean to be adequately insured? A growing body of research documents both health-related and financial problems that can arise when health insurance doesn’t cover enough. Rates of medical debt are growing, chiefly among the insured. One in five privately insured Americans with chronic conditions live in families with medical bill problems—an increase from 16 percent in 2003. When out-of-pocket spending for medical care exceeds just 2.5 percent of income—less for low-income persons—financial burdens on families become substantial. Studies show that the underinsured and uninsured face similar problems accessing medical care and managing financial burdens.

pdf It's Our Health Care Goals and Guideline for Health Care Refrom

California needs to fix it’s broken health care system, and provide needed help to the millions of Californians, insured and uninsured, who struggle with obtaining and affording health coverage and care. We seek to advance health reform, on multiple tracks, as a comprehensive package and in stages. This effort includes, but is not limited to, building on the policy framework of AB x1 1. We are in agreement on broad goals, and while our organizations may have distinct priorities and bottom lines, these guidelines are areas where we are pushing in the same direction.

pdf Rescuscitating an Ailing Economy Investing in Health Care

The economic recession that the state and nation are currently experiencing has had significant impacts on the employment and health coverage of Californians. Employers and employees struggled to afford quality health coverage before the economic downturn, and now it is even more difficult. Since the economy first began its decline about 18 months ago, almost one million more Californians have become unemployed and the number continues to grow. As a result of rising unemployment, an additional half a million Californians are now also uninsured. There would be even more uninsured if it were not for public programs like Medi-Cal. Uninsurance is associated with significant health and financial consequences for families and communities, so one of the most important ways to help the economy and Californian families recover is to expand coverage and invest in health care and health reform.

pdf California Consumers Pay the Price for Health Insurance Market Failure

A few private health insurance companies have built a near-monopoly in the California market, burdening families and businesses with premiums that grew 4.8 times faster than wages from 2000 to 2007.1 California’s two largest health insurers control 58 percent of the market.2 Under a competition rating system used by the U.S. Justice Department, the California state market is “highly concentrated.”3,4

pdf Understanding California's Budget Implications for Health Care

After long and intense negotiations, the California Legislature passed a budget package on February 19, 2009 which the Governor signed the next day. The budget package made up of over 30 bills is primarily based on a framework developed by Governor Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders. It amends the 2008-09 budget as well as enacting the 2009-2010 budget. With the state facing a $41 billion deficit through June 2010, the current budget fills the gap through a series of spending cuts, tax increases, borrowing, and federal stimulus funds. The package also included several tax, budget and policy changes not related to closing the deficit.

pdf Affordability and Benefits Provisions in California Health Care Reform Measure 2003-2008

Existing Law / Reality Affordability provisions/protections Benefits • Employer-based coverage: NONE • Individual insurance market: NONE • Medi-Cal: “nominal” cost-sharing • Healthy Families: no more than 5% of income, lower under California law • HMOs: medically necessary care, including doctors and hospitals but not Rx • Insurers: doctors OR hospitals; allows limits such as one or two doctor visits, $800 a day for hospital, etc. • Medi-Cal/Healthy Families: medically necessary care, including doctors, hospitals and Rx

pdf Health Reform in California The Need is Greater

The need for health reform in California is more urgent, more acute, and in some ways different, than in many other states: THE UNINSURED: Californians are more likely to be uninsured than residents of all but six states.1  California has 6.5 million uninsured. California has more uninsured (6.5 million) than Massachusetts has people (6.3 million).  More than one in seven uninsured Americans lives in California.  Most uninsured Californians are in working families (80%) and in low- or moderate-income families (80%) earning less than 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).2  California’s uninsured are disproportionately persons of color (70%).

pdf The Problem with Private Part D Prescription Drug Plans

The Problem with Private Part D Prescription Drug Plans

pdf Future of Employer-based Coverage in California

FACT SHEET: The Future of Employer-Based Coverage in California
The way that most Californians get health coverage is becoming endangered.
Californians—over 18 million—get health coverage through their employer, or
that of a family member. Of the rest of the state’s 36 million residents, over 10 million
get coverage from the public insurance programs like Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Healthy
Families. This leaves over 6 million are uninsured. (Only one million purchase health
coverage as individuals, either because it is unaffordable or unavailable.) Employerbased
coverage is the main pillar of our health care system.

pdf Health Care Budget Cuts Scorecared

On December 31, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released a budget blueprint for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009-10 to address the state’s General Fund shortfall, projected to be over $40 billion over the next 18 months. The Governor’s full budget proposal was formally released on January 9, 2009. The Governor’s current budget proposal includes significant cuts to health care services and programs and will affect all Californians who use any part of the health care system – especially the lowest income and most vulnerable among us.

pdf Midyear Budget Cuts Update

A sharp decline in revenues the past month has compelled Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to call lawmakers back for a special lame duck session to help close a new, gaping $11 billion shortfall, which has opened up in the 2008-09 budget. Schwarzenegger is proposing a mix of cuts and revenues to close the gap. The cuts come on top of $10 billion already cut out of this year’s spending plan, which was signed in mid-September. The governor has proposed the following cuts, effective December 1. The cuts will be considered in a Special Session in November, by the “lame duck” legislature, before the new session, and new members, convene on December 1st.

pdf Removing Barriers to Health Coverage

Health coverage should be available to everyone. It isn’t. Health coverage should be affordable for all, both to buy and to use. It isn’t. Health coverage should be administratively simple to get. It isn’t. It is because health coverage is not available, affordable, or automatic that so many Californians find themselves uninsured, and millions more are concerned that coverage won’t be there for them when they need it. Health reforms can go a long way to removing these barriers that are in place for each of the three ways that Californians get coverage: through employers, public programs, and the individual market.

pdf 2008 Session Health Consumer Bills

SB 1522 Steinberg INSURANCE MARKET STANDARDS: Would sort health insurance policies into five coverage categories, ranging from “comprehensive’’ to “catastrophic.’’ Organization of plans into these categories would enable consumers to better track premium, benefits and cost-sharing, and assist consumers in making apples-to-apples comparisons between plans. Would weed out “junk’’ insurance by developing minimum benefit standards.

pdf Health Care Budget Cuts Scorecared 2008

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a state budget on Tuesday, September 23rd – a record 85 days after the fiscal year had already begun. Beyond the $10 billion in spending that was approved by the Legislature, the governor vetoed an additional $510 million. The state budget cuts affect all Californians who use any part of the health care system – and especially the lowest income and most vulnerable among us. The enacted budget would result in more than 250,000 children losing health coverage over the next few years, adding to the ranks of 6.5 million people without coverage today. Californians who rely on public programs would encounter new barriers to using their health care at every level – in obtaining coverage, in keeping their coverage, using their coverage and paying for their coverage.

pdf Adverse Reaction Proposed Health Budget Cuts Would Lead to Increased Health Insurance Premiums

The health care cuts proposed in the May Revision budget under discussion in the legislature are estimated to deny Medi-Cal health coverage for more than one million Californians when fully implemented. As shown in this analysis, the resulting increase in the number of uninsured could increase the cost shift for California families with employer-based health insurance by 22 percent—in 2009, that would be an additional cost of more than $290 per family. To the extent that the budget passed by the legislature will create more uninsured persons—and the proposed budget currently under consideration certainly looks as if it would—cost shifting will grow. In addition, other cuts to Medi-Cal, including both benefit cuts and significant provider rate cuts, could add to the cost shift, resulting in even further premium increases. The best way to resolve unfair, inequitable and economically inefficient cost shifting is to create a comprehensive, universal system of coverage.

pdf Significant Side Effects Ecconomic Impacts of Health Care Cuts in California Communities

To address a $17.2 billion budget shortfall California policymakers are considering billions in budget cuts, including a reduction of nearly $1 billion from health programs for low- and middle-income Californians. While there has been some analysis of the impacts of these cuts on care and coverage, this paper attempts to detail and quantify the significant economic impacts of the proposed health care cuts, such as those proposed by the Governor’s May Revise.

pdf Not Just a One-time Cut

More than one million Californians could either lose or be denied health coverage, under the permanent policy changes included as part of the budget cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In denying or eliminating coverage for one million Californians, these permanent policy changes would significantly impact the entire healthcare system, increasing the number of uninsured from 6.5 million to an estimated 7.5 million, while reducing benefits or access for another 3.6 million low-income Californians dependent on public programs. The increase in the uninsured alone would threaten the health care system; the cuts in benefits or access further endanger it.

pdf Analysis Vital Medi-Cal Benefits on the chopping Block for 2.5 million Californians Real Cuts Real Pain

Facing a $17.2 billion – and growing – budget shortfall, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger bluntly slashed programs by 10 percent across-the-board. Large numbers and detached descriptions of programs to be eliminated do not adequately put into context the true impact and loss of dignity for Californians who will suffer under these cuts the most. All told, the cuts proposed total $85.4 million – less than .06 percent of the total budget, but would devastate the lives of 2.5 million adults who depend on these services as their lifelines. In many cases, these adults who earn less than $1,000 a month would be hit several times.

pdf Analysis 2008-09 Health Services Budget

In his May revision, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made deeper health cuts on top of what he had proposed in January. Earlier in the year, Schwarzenegger sought to narrow a multi-billion and growing budget shortfall with 10% across-the-board reductions. But as the state’s income continued to lag, leaving the total deficit – so far – at $17.2 billion the governor further devastated social and health programs for the poor. Schwarzenegger’s budget revisits familiar fiscal territory, proposing cuts that both he and former Gov. Gray Davis had proposed earlier in the decade, but were rejected by lawmakers as too extreme. In addition, Schwarzenegger re-proposed an administrative power grab, which would allow automatic, across-the-board cuts to programs when spending grows ahead of revenues. This proposal was rejected by voters in 2005.

pdf Beyond Guaranteed Issue

Today in California, consumers trying to buy coverage on the “individual market” face major barriers, of availability, affordability, and administrative hassle. It is the least efficient, most expensive way to get coverage. Yet Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s health reform proposal includes an “individual mandate,” requiring even those without employer-based or public program coverage to buy coverage as an individual. The Governor’s proposal acknowledges that such a mandate to buy coverage in the individual market could not be implemented in the current California market. Most notably, insurers are currently allowed to deny coverage to consumers because of “preexisting conditions.”

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Our Mission

Founded in 1987, Health Access is the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition advocating for quality, affordable health care for all Californians. Our agenda includes:

  • Expanding Coverage: Implementing and improving upon health reform.
  • Fighting for a Fair Budget for the Future: Protecting public investments to preserve access to care.
  • Protecting Consumers: Ensuring consumer representation and protection.

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