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Health care reform would increase access and affordability in California

Ken Jacobs, chair, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education | February 24, 2010

As the discussion begins at today’s bi-partisan meeting on health care, it is important to remember the stakes in this debate.  Nationally 31 million people are projected to gain health coverage under the President’s proposal.

The White House plan would expand Medicaid eligibility at the same level as passed by the U.S. Senate and provide increased tax credits for low- and middle-income families to buy coverage through the new health insurance exchange.

The benefits go well beyond the uninsured. Those currently purchasing coverage in the individual market or who have unaffordable job-based coverage would also have access to a the exchange, and the subsidies for low- and moderate-income families.

My colleagues and I have a new data brief on how the Presidents proposal would impact Californians which can be accessed here. We found:

  • Close to 4 million Californians who were uninsured, in the individual market or who had unaffordable employer-sponsored insurance in 2007 would qualify for Medicaid or subsidized coverage in the exchange.
  • Californians earning $14,404 a year would save $5,159 on average on premiums and out-of-pocket costs under the proposal compared to what they would currently have to spend in the individual market. Those earning $43,320 a year would save $904 a year under the proposal.

This graph shows how average health spending as a percent of income would change in the state compared to the costs in the current individual market.

Those who don’t qualify for the subsidies will still benefit from the reforms requiring insurers to cover all applicants, without regard to pre-existing conditions.

Congress should use budget reconciliation to make the Presidents proposed amendments to the bill, and pass it.

Comments to “Health care reform would increase access and affordability in California

  1. Sounds like there are big changes coming with the new health reform. Will be interesting to see how it all pans out in the long run. Thanks for the link to the pdf doc

  2. Pablo, even in a country that does have free healthcare like Australia waiting lists are incredibly long and anyone who can afford it has health insurance just like the USA – what are the waiting lists like in Spain?

  3. I read you from Spain and I still can not understand how USA has no healthcare for everyone. I think this should be a priority in the most advanced country in the world, the right to health should be something basic and protected by the state.

  4. I put your recommendation to congress to use budget reconciliation to add Presidents amendments to health care reform bill & pass it now now now !

    it helps greatly to read your brief analysis of how reform will help 31 million uninsured Americans.

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