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Debt reduction plan to increase uninsured

Posted Jun 27th, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team
In an attempt to reduce a $17.2 billion deficit for the next fiscal year, Gov. Arnold Schwartzeneggar has proposed to tighten eligibility rules and increase premiums for state health care programs.

This proposal would increase the number of uninsured in California by 15 percent in the next three years, according to health care advocates.

Premiums would also increase for children enrolled in Healthy Families, a program that assists children of families earning from 100 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

“It would be the largest rollback of health care in the state's history,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California. “It's not health care reform. It's health care deform.”

Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal for the fiscal year 2008-2009 would stiffen eligibility standards for Medi-Cal to those earning 61 percent or less than the poverty level.

“So a parent in a family of three making $12,000 would, in essence, be too rich to qualify for Medi-Cal,” Wright said.

Most baffling is that Schwartzeneggar has been an advocate of universal health care in his career. A proposal by the governor that was denied would have shared the cost of providing universal healthcare among many parties including employers, providers, insurers, individuals and the government.

“These policy changes directly contradict health reform proposals the governor previously put forward,” stated a report released by Health Access.

Schwarzenegger remains committed to comprehensive health care reform, said Lisa Page, spokeswoman for the governor. She added that they still have to manage a budget and pay off debts. Page also said that the governor will not raise taxes, as he thinks they are taxed enough.