SAN DIEGO: Options to Cover Uninsured Deserve Action
While the county Board of Supervisors and department of Health and Human Services are "grappling with ways to cover some of San Diego's 600,000 residents who lack health insurance," an editorial in yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune examines myriad possible solutions. The editorial notes that a recent proposal to create an independent heath care cooperative to cover the county's massive uninsured population is an "intriguing idea, but too little is known about [it] to decide whether it would pencil out. The county should delve deeper." In the mean time, "San Diego needs an aggressive outreach program to sign up eligible recipients" for Medi-Cal or Healthy Families, the editors write, noting that every additional enrolle in the programs is "one more person whose health care isn't paid for by the county." Currently, only about 65% of eligible families participate in the plans. In addition, the editorial suggests that officials increase the income eligibly limits for the County Medical Services programs covering indigent adults adding, "Anyone who earns more than $600 a month can't receive care at county clinics. That's too low." The editors also point out other viable options for dealing with the county's uninsured, including a voucher system for low-income workers and an incentive program to prompt small business to offer employees insurance. Funding for such proposals could come from the annual $30 million to $40 million in tobacco settlement money, write the editors, who conclude that "health care for the poor could be a good place to spend some of it" (10/28).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.