Time to take action on health reform…

HEALTH ACCESS ALERT
Thursday, January 24th, 2008

HISTORIC HEALTH REFORM LEGISLATION HEARD IN SENATE COMMITTEE
* Panel meets for nearly 11 hours to scrutinize 200 page bill and ballot initiative
* Senate Health Committee postpones historic vote on ABX1 1 until Monday
* Report from the hearing, and much more, at the
Health Access WeBlog

ALERT: CONTACT YOUR SENATOR TODAY TO SUPPORT AB x1 1:
* Pass Health Reform, or Stay With Status Quo and Leave Millions Uninsured?

The Health Access WeBlog has our traditional report on the Senate Health Committee hearing today on AB x1 1, which heard long testimony about the measure. At the request of Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, the Senate Health Committee delayed their vote until Monday afternoon of January 28th.

Health Access California and other health, consumer, community, children’s and senior organizations are urging other health advocates to contact their Senators to commit to SUPPORT AB x1 1, and to take advantage of this window of opportunity to dramatically expand health coverage for the uninsured, secure coverage for those Californians with coverage, and build a base for future reforms.

CALL YOUR SENATOR TO SUPPORT AB x1 1, which will:
* expand public coverage to millions of Californians who are now (or will become) uninsured, and as a result live sicker, die younger, and one emergency away from financial ruin;
* provide more options and financial assistance to many insured Californians, who now struggle with having to deal with health costs;
* prohibit insurers from denying people because of “pre-existing conditions,” and spending too much on administration, marketing and profit.

For a list of Senators and their contact information, including phone and fax numbers, in both their Sacramento and district offices, go to the California Senate website, at:
http://www.senate.ca.gov/~newsen/senators/senators.htp

MORE ON THE BILL

The bill dramatically expands coverage building on top of California’s current mix of private-employer-provided and public program coverage.

ABx1 1 is the culmination of more than 18 months intense attention from the state’s leaders, which began with the governor and legislative leaders each introducing their own proposals and gradually merging the measures. To read a thorough explanation of what ABx1 1 does, click here and here for previous Health Access updates, fact sheet, and analysis on the measure.

In summary, the measure would raise over $15 billion in new money to expand coverage through:
* Requiring employers to provide a minimum contribution toward their workers’ coverage;
* Getting individual contributions that are related to a family’s income;
* Raising the tobacco tax to $1.75 per pack;
* Imposing a 4 percent hospital fee;
* Drawing down new federal matching funds;
* Reinvesting state and county savings

AB x1 1 would expand existing Medi-Cal and Healthy Families programs to cover an additional 1.5 million low- to moderate-income Californians. All in all, an additional 3.6 million Californians, who would otherwise be uninsured, would have medical coverage – 81% of whom would be in families earning less than 400% of poverty ($70,400 for a family of three)

A REPORT ON THE SENATE HEALTH COMMITEE HEARING is available at
http://www.health-access.org/2008/01/report-on-senate-health-committee.htm

Health Access will provide an update on events as they unfold, on the Health Access WeBlog and through these E-mail Updates and Alerts.

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

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