With the positive amendments on affordability and cost containment, many consumer, community, labor, and constituency groups are coming on board to a full-fledged “Support” position on AB8(Nunez).
For some, including a handful that are considering opposing the bill, there has been some mis-information circulating:
* Some folks didn’t realize that the affordability amendments were in fact included, but they are official as of Friday.
* Some think the bill includes a mandate to buy in the individual market–which there is not.
* Some think the insurance companies are in support–when in fact they are opposed, with Blue Cross running full-page ads against the bill.
* Some are concerned about potential last-minute changes to AB8–but the deadline is now past to make any changes. (If they go into special session, they’ll have to start with a new bill number–even if they use the language of AB8 as the basis for further negotiation with the Governor.)
The bill in print is what to consider, against the unacceptable status quo. And there’s a lot to recommend it: it would make coverage more available, affordable, and automatic for the vast number of Californians. It would dramatically expand public program and group coverage for millions of uninsured Californians.
If signed, it would be major advance, on par with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid 40 years ago. It’s not perfect, nor accomplish all the reforms that are needed; but passing and enacting the bill would create momentum for additional efforts. This isn’t the first year of the health reform debate, and it won’t be the last, regardless of what happens this year.