Advocates Criticize Report on Coverage Expansion
Representatives of two health care advocacy groups are voicing criticism of a report issued this week that details three options for expanding health insurance coverage in California, the Stockton Record reports.
The California HealthCare Foundation said it intended for the report to help policymakers, stakeholders and the public consider practical strategies for addressing California's increasing uninsured population (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 10/19). The report identifies three approaches to expanding coverage:
- "Basic Individual Mandate," which would require state residents to maintain health insurance coverage and provide subsidies for low-income residents;
- "Pay or Play Plus," which would combine an individual requirement, subsidies and employer contributions; and
- "All-Consumer Choice Exchange," which would create a "choice pool" funded by fees on all workers and employers. The pool would replace the existing employer-by-employer coverage system (CHCF release, 10/2006).
Beth Capell, legislative advocate for Health Access, said, "An individual mandate is a problematic way to provide coverage," adding, "What has worked in America has been to provide employer-based coverage and government programs."
Roger Speed, co-chair of the San Joaquin County affiliate of Health Care for All, said his organization opposed employer-sponsored coverage, adding, "It would be better to have a government-run, single-payer system in which everybody is covered for everything."
Health Care for All supported legislation (SB 840) by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) that would have established a state-run, single-payer health insurance system in California. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed the bill (Stockton Record, 10/19).