Bill Would Subsidize Calif. Farmworkers’ Health Plan for Five Years
Last year, the Robert F. Kennedy Medical Plan asked the state to provide a one-year $3.2 million subsidy to help it comply with the Affordable Care Act. The plan does not meet ACA standards because it caps annual benefits at $70,000.
The health plan requested the subsidy to cover any costs that exceed the $70,000 cap so that farmworkers and their employers would not be responsible for the costs.
Without the subsidy, farmworkers said that 10,700 individuals could lose their health coverage (California Healthline, 5/29). Union officials have said that if the plan shuts down, farmworkers would be forced to enroll in Medi-Cal -- the state's Medicaid program -- which could cost taxpayers $6 million per year.
In June, Brown approved a one-time $2.5-million subsidy for the plan.
Details of Bill
SB 145, by state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), seeks to provide similar funding for the union's health plan for five more years.
The bill was proposed in August, and lawmakers passed it in September.
According to the Times, the measure would cost taxpayers up to $3 million annually.
A legislative analysis said that the bill could set a bad precedent for state intervention. However, Pan said that the union was in a "unique situation," noting that it is difficult for farmers who move around a lot to enroll in Medi-Cal.
Pan said, "We could say, 'You're on your own,'" and allow the union insurance plan to collapse, adding, "Think about the consequences of that" (Los Angeles Times, 10/3).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.