The benefit to California…

For the last week, we have stated what seems obvious: that health reform is a huge boon for California, especially given the particularly acute health system crisis our state faces. Given our large uninsured population and other factors, California is likely to disproportionately benefit.

Somehow, Governor Schwarzenegger has been on a different message, and the California Representatives that won this huge benefit aren’t pleased with his Administration’s misleading characterization of the reform.

Here’s the letter recently sent by four leading California members of Congress:

The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

We are writing to explain the benefits of the new health reform legislation for California.

Your Secretary of Health and Human Services estimated this week that the legislation would cost California $2 billion to $3 billion annually. This is an incomplete and misleading assessment because it fails to take into account billions of dollars worth of new federal tax and health care benefits that will go to California’s families and small businesses.

We have enclosed an analysis of the many benefits that the health reform law will bring to California and its residents. Over the next ten years, Californians will receive $124 billion in new federal support for health care coverage.

These new benefits include $106 billion in tax credits and other federal funding to pay for health care coverage for California families, $4.3 billion in tax credits to small businesses that purchase health insurance for their employees, and $9.3 billion in federal assistance to California seniors in the Part D drug donut hole. The legislation will also extend health care coverage to 3.8 million uninsured California residents and improve coverage for 21 million residents with employer-based or individual health insurance.

We hope this information is helpful to you as you evaluate the health care reform legislation and its many benefits to the state and California families.

Sincerely,

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce
Rep. George Miller, Chairman , Committee on Education and Labor
Rep. Pete Stark, Chairman, Subcommittee on Health,
Committee on Ways and Means
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Chairman, California Democratic Congressional Delegation

We’ve been quoted in articles in the Los Angeles Times or San Francisco Chronicle or New America Media rebutting the charges by the Governor, but the headline always favors the Governor’s spin. Hopefully this analysis will change the narrative.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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