Abbott, Elizabeth

Health Access California is a statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition of over 200 groups. This article has also been published on the Health Access Blog

A Report from "The Battle in Seattle"

By Elizabeth Abbot
Health Access

Well, I'm back from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) meeting in Seattle!

I went to the NAIC meeting because I am one of the dozen or so consumer representatives who were chosen in March to represent consumers' interests as that organization works out many of the details of how health care reform will play out. The NAIC increased the numbers of consumer representatives this year because of the central role the NAIC has in writing policies and model regulations for the states and their official advisory role to the federal government in health care reform implementation. They already are lobbied by hundreds of industry representatives, and the commissioners needed the consumer perspective of how the implementation of health care reform.

First Steps Toward the Federal High Risk Pool

By Elizabeth Abbott
Health Access

Many advocates and industry representatives attended the public board meeting of the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board yesterday as they debated and discussed what one important new feature of the federal health care reform legislation would look like. And we have tentative details, some of which were reported in the Sacramento Bee by Carrie Peyton Dahlberg.

Although California has had a high risk pool for many years, it has not provided much of an alternative for people who could not purchase health insurance. That is because the California pool was expensive to enroll in, would only permit enrollment of 7,100 Californians (out of estimates of California's "uninsurable" population of as many as 300,000 people), and had annual limit of $75,000 that could be paid for benefits per enrollee per year.

Reading the Fine Print on Prescription Drug Labels

BethAbbottPic.gifBy Elizabeth Abbott
Project Director
Health Access California

Have you ever had to squint at the tiny print on a prescription label or have to give advice to an elderly family member to interpret their instructions for taking pills? California is in the process of helping to take some of the guesswork--and potential danger--out of deciphering those labels for seniors, people with disabilities, and patients with low English-language proficiency.