Health Insurance For Millions of Californians Under House Bill

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, November 9, 2009
Anthony Wright is with the consumer advocacy group Health Access California. He says millions of people would get health insurance under the House bill.
“It would not only mean that five million Californians who are uninsured now would get coverage it also would mean that there would be lots of people who have coverage who would get some additional help in affording or keeping their coverage.”
Wright says some of the changes include allowing middle class families to get extra federal money to offset high premiums. Insurers wouldn’t be able to discriminate against people buying coverage on their own. And most employers would have to provide insurance for their employees.
But California officials are worried about one of the proposals to expand the health care program for the poor called Medi-Cal. The California Health and Human Services Agency says about two million more people would qualify for the program. And the state would have to increase its payments to primary care doctors who see Medi-Cal patients. The agency estimates the Medi-Cal changes could cost up to $2 billion a year.
The U.S. Senate is expected to begin debating its own version of the health care bill next week.