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California Health Leaders Respond to High Court Ruling

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, June 29, 2012
Democratic California lawmakers say they are 'thrilled' about the ruling.     

    "We in California have been given a green light and validation of the work we've been doing to lay the groundwork for full implementation, " says Bill Monning, Chair of the state Assembly Health Committee.

    Republican State Senator Tom Harman says the federal law should be implemented in California "responsibly and cautiously."

    But Vice Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Republican Dan Logue says he'll convene a committee to evaluate what parts, if any, of the law could be taken to voters.

     "We're going to take a hard look at whether or not we can repeal these actions, and can the people of California really make the ultimate determination, " says Logue.  

    Monning says talk of repealing California's participation in the federal law is 'sour grapes.' And he says the effort would fail.  


    A California health insurance trade group says the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a "relief."

 "We're not troubled by the decision," says Patrick Johnston, CEO of the California Association of Health Plans (CAHP). "We find it helpful in clearing the path towards greater coverage for Californians."

Johnson says California health plans have been working  with the state prior to the high court ruling to expand health coverage to Californians.

    As recently as 2011, the insurance trade group was opposed to adding new health coverage requirements to California law.

    CAHP says more work must be done to deal with underlying conditions that are driving up the costs of health care. The group also wants that state health laws in California not deviate from the federal health care law.


    The high court ruling means the state's insurance marketplace, called the California Health Benefit Exchange, can move forward, with the promise of federal funds.

    Starting in 2014, California families of four who don't qualify for Medi-Cal and have an income of up to $93,700 could get financial help for health coverage through the new marketplace, according to the Exchange.

    "We're committed to give people in-person assistance to understand these benefits so they can enroll such that when we hit 2014, we have as many as those five million individuals who are eligible for subsidized care in the tent as we can, " says Peter Lee, Director of the Exchange.  

    Over the next two years, Lee says, the exchange must select health plans and develop a website where people can enroll.

  "We look forward to making the purchase of insurance through California's exchange as easy as buying a book on Amazon or shoes on Zappos, " says Lee.

    Lee says the health exchange expects to start enrolling people in October 2013.
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