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Briefing Highlights Successes, Challenges During California’s First Year after Affordable Care Act

Briefing Highlights Successes, Challenges During California’s First Year after Affordable Care Act

Researchers and advocates from across the state gathered in Sacramento today for a briefing hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Blue Shield of California Foundation to accompany the release of their new report, Coverage Expansions and the Remaining Uninsured: A Look at California During Year One of ACA Implementation.

The report focused on California’s experiences during the first full year after implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion. Focusing on those who have gained coverage either through Covered California or an expanded Medi-Cal program, the report examined the state’s health care system after roughly 4.4 million people have enrolled in coverage in the two programs. Using results from a comprehensive survey, the report found that those with insurance were more likely to use it, but the newly insured had more trouble than the previously insured navigating how to use their coverage. Additionally, almost half (47%) of those newly enrolled in Covered California reported having difficulty affording their monthly premiums, compared to 27% of those who were previously ensured prior to 2014. The report also found that community clinics and health centers are increasingly relied upon by the uninsured and newly insured.

The briefing began with a presentation by the report’s authors, who were followed by California Department of Health Care Services Director Jennifer Kent, who discussed the ACA’s dramatic coverage expansions:

Kent also noted that DHCS is still working out some issues, but with federal support in the coming years, the department’s programs will only get better:

The briefing concluded with a panel discussion featuring Covered California Board member Genoveva Islas from Cultiva La Salud, Carmela Castellano-Garcia from the California Primary Care Association, and CPEHN’s Sarah de Guia.

The three discussed the report’s findings and also what still needs to be done to cover the remaining uninsured, many of whom are ineligible due to their immigration status. The three mentioned the importance of SB 4 (Lara), the Health for All Act, which passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee earlier in the day.

You can check out the full report on Kaiser Family Foundation’s website.

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