California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Reform Law Could Curb Healthy San Francisco’s Enrollment by Up to 60%

The federal health reform law could reduce enrollment in Healthy San Francisco by about 60%, but city health officials say many uninsured residents will continue to rely on the program for care, the San Francisco Examiner reports (Worth, San Francisco Examiner, 4/18).

About Healthy San Francisco

The city launched Healthy San Francisco in 2007 to provide health insurance coverage to adult residents who earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal, but not enough to purchase private insurance. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.

Healthy San Francisco receives funding from the city, the federal government, patient contributions and fees imposed on San Francisco businesses that do not provide health coverage for their workers. The program receives no funding from the state (California Healthline, 1/19).

Effects of Reform Law

Last year, former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) established a task force to study how the federal health reform law would affect Healthy San Francisco. The group is scheduled to present a report on its findings to the city Health Commission today.

The report predicts that after the reform law is fully implemented, about 60% of the 55,000 people enrolled in Healthy San Francisco would qualify for Medi-Cal or other public health insurance programs. Residents eligible for such programs no longer could receive coverage through Healthy San Francisco.

However, Tangerine Brigham -- a task force member and Healthy San Francisco program director -- said the reform law will not eliminate the need for Healthy San Francisco. She noted that about 68,400 San Francisco residents will remain uninsured after the overhaul's implementation, including undocumented residents, incarcerated individuals and people facing financial challenges.

Brigham noted that some of those individuals could seek care under Healthy San Francisco (San Francisco Examiner, 4/18).

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