"Health Care For All" Bill Signed by Governor
Santa Clara County was the first county to develop a Children’s Health Initiative in 2001 to expand health coverage for poor children. Assembly Bill (AB) 12, which was signed by the Governor yesterday, would allow Santa Clara County to expand this program to include hard working adults that lack health insurance and have great difficulty obtaining employer based coverage or purchasing a private plan. This bill is consistent with the concepts and principles of shared responsibility.
"The vast majority of adult Californians obtain health coverage through an employer. However, many go without coverage. State and federal subsidized programs for adults are limited to those with very low incomes and have strict eligibility requirements," decried Assembly Member Beall (D- San Jose).
Low and middle-income adults have the highest uninsured rates and have greater difficulty obtaining employer-based coverage or purchasing a private plan. For example, in Santa Clara County only 39% of workers under 300% of the federal poverty level have employer-based coverage.
Specifically, AB 12 would create the Adult Health Coverage Expansion Program in Santa Clara County that would be administered by the county or local initiative. The program would provide health care coverage to adult’s age 19-64 years employed by small businesses that have a gross annual income less than 350% federal poverty level and the employer participates in the program.
"The health care services provided through the program would be comprehensive and would include inpatient and outpatient services, emergency care, and coverage for prescription medications," stated Beall.
A maximum of 5,000 employees would be covered in the county. Small business with 50 or fewer employees could participate. Cost of health care coverage will be provided by contributions from the employee, employer, county, and state funds. This shared responsibility model is consistent with current policies.