San Mateo County Studies Funding Options for Health Care Program
A San Mateo County task force is searching for ways to fund a county health care program that would offer coverage to uninsured adults between the ages of 19 and 64 whose incomes do not exceed 400% of the federal poverty level, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The task force began work on the issue more than two years ago.Â Officials estimate there are between 36,000 and 44,000 uninsured people in the county who would qualify for the proposed program and are not covered by Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
The group meets monthly to discuss the proposal although the current economic climate has posed new obstacles to raising $100 million to $150 million to fund the plan.
Ideas under consideration include:
- A countywide sales tax increase;
- A requirement that businesses provide employee health benefits; and
- A voluntary program for businesses to contribute to a health care fund.
Business leaders said they are concerned that a large share of the program's costs would fall on them.
Carole Groom, San Mateo County supervisor and chair of the group, said there is no deadline for the committee to decide on a funding plan.She said the group is "very, very aware" of the "tough business climate." However, she said they hope to find a funding solution businesses can support (Bishop, San Jose Mercury News, 2/22). 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.