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Schwarzenegger Signs Sweeping Health Reforms

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, October 1, 2010

California has become the first state in the nation to approve a state run health exchange program.

 Supporters of the health exchange say it allows individuals and small business owners to form a collective, using their combined purchasing power to drive down the cost of insurance.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law, despite intense objection from some of the state's largest insurers.

Anthem Blue Cross in particular lobbied hard against the exchange as it made its way through the legislature.

It's estimated up to 5 million Californians will be able to enter the exchange, which launches in 2014.
For a better understanding of how the exchange would work, listen here.
Selected quotes on the passage of the exchange:
"It's big. It's really, really big."
 ---Anthony Wright, Health Access
"For national reform to succeed, it will be up to the states to make it work, and California is moving forward on reforms that will provide affordable and quality health care insurance. Choice and competition have the power to improve health care quality and reduce health care costs for California consumers. With the California Health Benefit Exchange, we will be able to create a competitive marketplace where consumers can choose among qualified health plans - all without relying on the state's General Fund."
---Governor Arnold Scwharzenegger
"In a state with the most uninsured and underinsured in the nation, AB 1602 has been a long time in coming.  We will begin working immediately to secure quality, affordable coverage for the hard working people of this state,"

---Speaker John Perez.


"The exchange is a lynchpin of the health care law, as it will ultimately provide and expand health coverage to millions of Californians, and pave the way for hundreds of thousands of uninsured children and families to purchase affordable health coverage beginning in 2014.  By creating the California Health Benefit Exchange, the Governor has enabled California to begin realizing the benefits and promise of the federal health care law,"

---Deena Lahn of Children's Defense Fund of California.


"The establishment of exchanges will be of great assistance to California's 3 million small businesses. It will give us more leverage with insurance carriers and lower administrative costs for the insurance companies.  Small businesses can get a better coverage package.  It provides the needed information for employers and employees to make informed decisions on coverage and price."

---Scott Hauge, Small Business California president.
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