Legislation Would Cover Workers Not Helped by ACA, Medi-Cal Expansion
California Assembly member Manuel PÃ©rez (D)Â has introduced legislation (AB 175) that would provide comprehensive health insuranceÂ to workers who are not covered by Affordable Care Act provisions, such as the Medi-Cal expansion, HealthyCal reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (Graebner, HealthyCal, 6/26).
Under the ACA, a state expansion of Medi-Cal would allow individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $15,415 annually, to gain coverage (California Healthline, 6/6).
A 2012 report by the Center for Labor Research at UC-Berkeley found that three to four million California residents likely will remain uninsured five years after ACA implementation, most of whom will be U.S. citizens or documented immigrants.
The bill would establish a trust fund paid for by employers, private donors and philanthropic groups to provide workers who do not receive insurance under the ACA with Â comprehensive coverage, including:
- Primary care benefits;
- Dental health benefits; and
- Mental health benefits.
PÃ©rez said that he expects the bill to help employees of:
- Small businesses;
- Agricultural industries;
- Restaurants; and
- Sales and service industries.
The bill is sponsored by three safety-net health care providers, including:
- Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas;
- Clinicas Del Camino Real in Ventura; and
- The Borrego Community Health Foundation, which serves San Diego and Riverside counties.
PÃ©rez said, "The ACA is historical for us, ... but it doesn't go far enough," adding, "For employers who want to cover their workers, [AB 175] is another option."
Chad Silva -- director of policy for the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California -- said that the bill is not a finished product but that it would "address the fundamental unfairness" of allowing certain residents to work without providing them with affordable health insurance coverage.Ronald Coleman -- government affairs manager for the California Immigrant Policy Center in Sacramento -- said that although the group supports the bill "in concept," it is "very concerned about privacy and confidentiality protections." He said that some worker information that would be required under the bill could be misused and expose employees to various federal enforcement programs (HealthyCal, 6/26). 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.