Health Care


No Evidence That Prop 46 Will Affect Community Clinics' Services

By J.G. Preston

Consumer Attorneys of California

Proposition 46, the patient safety initiative on California’s November ballot, would adjust the state’s 39-year-old cap on compensation for non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases to give it the same economic value it had when it was enacted in 1975 (it has not changed since). “Non-economic damages” are awarded as compensation for such harm as the loss of limbs, brain damage, ongoing crippling pain, or the death of a child, just to name a few.

Why We Support Prop 45: Our Health Insurance Premium Went Up Over 1,300%

By Josh Libresco

I have a wife and two children. My daughter just finished her freshman year in college; my son is in high school. I have lived in California for most of my life, and have worked in marketing research most of my career. I spent the first 20 years of my career working for larger companies, but in 1997, I went off on my own. My health care was covered under COBRA for a while, and I started an individual (family) policy with Anthem Blue Cross in 1998 paying $151 each month for a plan with no deductible and a $10 co-pay for office visits.

Governor's May Revise Spotlights Medi-Cal Enrollment, But Includes No New HHS Restorations

By Anthony Wright

Health Access

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his May Revision of the State Budget for 2014-15, by trumpeting the strong and successful effort to cover more Californians in Medi-Cal coverage.

“This is good news for California,” he started, referring to a $2.4 billion more in revenues since the January budget, before indicating how the money would be spent. But the Governor did not propose new investments, restorations, or commitments in health and human services in this budget, but rather pointed to the increased Medi-Cal enrollment as where the added revenues are already going.

Discriminatory Insurer Practices Jeopardize Access to Medication

By Liz Helms

California Chronic Care Coalition

California health insurance plans are jeopardizing patient health by moving vital medications to so-called “specialty tiers,” which place the cost of treatment beyond the reach of most patients and which may be illegal under both California and federal discrimination laws.

Rather than paying a fixed copayment, Californians whose medications are placed on specialty tiers are often forced to pay coinsurance – or a percentage of the total cost of the drugs – which can mean hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month in out-of-pocket costs for a single medication.

Why Americans Resist Universal Healthcare

By Claude Fischer

It’s 1974. Richard Nixon resigns the presidency; Barbara Streisand is singing, “The Way We Were” all over the radio (that music-playing thing before the internet); and you can buy a hand calculator that can only add, subtract, multiply, and divide for, in today’s currency, $100. Someone asks you: Here are three pretty radical ideas – which do you think is likely to happen first, if ever?

New Studies Show Inclusion of Immigrant Youth but More to Do

By Anthony Wright

Health Access

Consumer, community, and health organizations cheered new studies Tuesday from University of California showing how the state has gone beyond federal law to extend coverage to immigrant youth who have “deferred action” status. The studies show that this expansion, including in last year’s California budget and Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act, extends to 125,000 Californians with “deferred action” immigration status, including DREAM Act students and young adults.

The first two parts of the report are available for download here.

Coordinating Health Care for California's 'Dual Eligibles'

By Viji Sundaram

Seventy-four year old Willie Posey has his hands full keeping up with his own health care needs, which include diabetes, a bad knee and neurological problems. On top of that, he also drives his 87-year-old sister to the hospital for her dialysis treatment.

Posey's income barely tops $15,000 a year, combining Social Security payments with $400 a month as his sister's caregiver, and another $400 a month as a facilitator for recovering drug addicts. Both he and his sister qualify for Medi-Cal, California's name for Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income people. They are also enrolled in Medicare, the federal insurance program for elders and people with disabilities. Since they qualify for both programs, they are known as dual eligibles.

California’s Decision on Plan Extensions

By Anthony Wright

Health Access

Last Thursday, Covered California voted to provide more direct outreach and assistance to Californians who need to switch health plans at the end of the year. A special hotline number will be extended for consumers impacted, to walk them through their options:

Help with New Options

What's Next for the Exchange?

By Amy DePaul

It seemed fitting that the federal government closure - staged in the name of defeating the unpopular reforms of the Affordable Care Act - began on the same day that the ACA's new insurance exchange drew an overwhelmingly eager response from the American public.

"A ton of people are excited to enroll," enthused Sarah Sol, information officer at Covered Cal. "Needless to say, we're thrilled with this strong consumer response."

As Stephen Colbert said in characteristic faux Republican, "Too many people signing up is always the surest sign that nobody wants it."

Despite Shutdown, Obamacare Starts: Huge Interest as California Begins Enrollment

By Anthony Wright

Health Access

Yesterday marked the begining of a six-month open enrollment in the new benefits and options of the Affordable Care Act, including with the launch of Covered California, our state’s marketplace for health care coverage.

Now millions of Californians are now able to shop, compare, and buy affordable, high quality health insurance through Covered California, a new insurance marketplace where individuals, families and small business can also get financial assistance to pay for health coverage. This brings us a major step close to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.