Alameda County Begins Examining Effect of Federal Health Reform
Alameda County has started examining the effect of the federal health reform law on its health system, according to the county's Health Care Services Agency Director Alex Briscoe, the Hayward Daily Review/Oakland Tribune reports.
On Friday, Briscoe spoke about the federal overhaul at a forum co-sponsored by the League of Women's Voters Eden Area and the American Association of University Women-Hayward/Castro Valley Branch.
Effect of Federal Overhaul on Health Insurance
Briscoe estimated that there currently are 250,000 uninsured people in Alameda County. He said that after full implementation of the reform law in 2018, 56,200 more Alameda residents will be eligible for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
He also noted that about 107,000 county residents will be newlyÂ eligible for subsidies to purchase individual insurance plans in the private market through healthÂ insurance exchanges established under the law.
Briscoe said that, assuming all residents who qualify for insurance choose to enroll, the county will have a 95.5% insurance rate, with 65,000 residents remaining uninsured. He said mostÂ residents remaining uninsured would be undocumented immigrants and those who qualify for a religious exemption.
According to Briscoe, the "great unanswered question" of the reform law is how much insurance will cost for low-income residents who do not qualify for Medi-Cal.
Briscoe said that the county must prepare to develop a primary care infrastructure to serve the larger number of people covered by insurance who might seek primary and preventive care.
He said the county is considering a strategy that would establish health clinics at schools, community colleges, fire stations and day labor centers toÂ help treat the additional patientsÂ (Sweeney, Hayward Daily Review/Oakland Tribune, 3/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.