Senate Health to Vote on Bill to Increase Affordability Assistance in Covered California (SB 1255, Hernandez)

This afternoon, the Senate Health Committee will consider and vote on SB 1255 (Hernandez), a bill to increase affordability assistance provided through Covered California, our state marketplace to purchase health insurance.
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For immediate release: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Contact: Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, Director of Communications, Health Access, 916-532-2128 (cell) 

SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER INCREASING AFFORDABILITY ASSISTANCE IN COVERED CALIFORNIA

SB 1255 (Hernandez) Would Help Guarantee That No Californian Have to Spend More Than 8% of Their Income for Coverage;

Bill a Key Part of #Care4AllCA Package to Win Universal Health Care in CA

Sacramento, CA — This afternoon, the Senate Health Committee will consider and vote on SB 1255 (Hernandez), a bill to increase affordability assistance provided through Covered California, our state marketplace to purchase health insurance. While the Affordable Care Act provides significant subsidies to help Californians afford coverage, the bill seeks to close gaps in affordability for Californians for those who purchase coverage as individuals, some who face cliffs in affordability assistance if they go past certain income levels. SB 1255 would help provide a guarantee that no Californian would have to spend more than 8% of their income–a crucial step toward moving to universal health care, without the need for federal approval

Below is a quote from Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition:

“Californians need more help affording health coverage, and this bill seeks to do that, providing a guarantee that you shouldn’t have to spend more than eight percent of your income on insurance premiums. While the Affordable Care Act took big steps to the goal of universal coverage, our health system still has gaps that this bill seeks to fill. Too many middle-income families face cliffs in affordability assistance if they are just over certain income levels. Especially in our high cost-of-living state, California should extend additional assistance so that more people can afford and sign up for coverage, making the system work better for everyone.”

Along with SB 1255, there are also three other Assembly bills to increase affordability assistance in our high cost-of-living state: AB2459 (Friedman), AB2565 (Chiu), and AB 3148 (Arambula).

All four bills are key planks in an ambitious agenda from the Care4All California coalition of over 50 organizations of patient and health advocates, labor unions, women’s groups, communities of color, people of faith, immigrant communities, consumer groups, progressives, and other groups. The plan aims to put health care in reach of every Californian, building on the years of progress under California’s implementation and improvement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plan – contained in at least 20 pieces of legislation and budget items, spanning Assembly and Senate authors – includes policies to:

1) Advance California to universality and affordability in coverage, by expanding Medi-Cal to remove key exclusions for income-eligible Californians, based on immigration status, as well as age, and increasing affordability assistance in Covered California, on a sliding scale up and down the income ladder, to lower both premiums and costs sharing like deductibles in a high cost-of-living state.

2) Contain costs while holding the health care establishment accountable for improved quality and reducing healthcare disparities, through increased oversight over the industry, including on issues of industry consolidation, rising health insurance premiums, and other cost drivers.

3) Stop the sabotage of President Trump’s administrative attacks on the ACA from eroding existing coverage and consumer protections, loosen standards on health plans, and undermine our insurance market, public programs, and health system.

Learn more about SB 1255 and other bill in the package at Care4AllCA.org

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