Fulfilling the Promise of the Affordable Care Act in California
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) turns three this week, and already this toddler has been extraordinarily helpful to children and families in California and across the nation. Millions of California children and families have already benefited from the ACA.
Thanks to the ACA, 2.1 million California children have received no-cost preventative services, enabling them to stay healthy and avoid more costly care in the emergency room. Almost 600,000 California children with pre-existing conditions like asthma or diabetes and their families no longer have to worry about being denied coverage. An estimated 435,000 California young adults have been able to keep health coverage through their parents’ plans.
Even more California children and families will benefit once all provisions of the law are in place if state policymakers take full advantage of this historic opportunity to improve children’s health. In the past, California has been a leader in implementing the ACA and was the first state in the nation to create a Health Insurance Exchange, now called Covered California. Starting in 2014, Covered California will provide a way for Californians to find quality coverage they can trust and receive tax subsidies to ensure that coverage is affordable.
Unfortunately, one critical provision of the ACA has hit a stumbling block in California – the federally funded Medi-Cal expansion, which would make 1.4 million Californians newly eligible for health coverage, and have a positive impact on children and families across California. Our state legislators have been working hard to expand Medi-Cal as quickly and simply as possible, but we need Governor Brown’s support to move the Medi-Cal expansion forward.
Additionally, since about 3 million Californians (including nearly half a million children) will remain uninsured after 2014, it is absolutely essential to preserve existing local funds for the health care safety net that provides vital care for uninsured children and families.
As successful as the Affordable Care Act has already been for California, every 3-year-old needs support from caring adults to reach their full potential – let’s hope that Governor Brown helps fulfill the promise of the ACA for Californians by expanding Medi-Cal as soon as possible!