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We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of certain types of health coverage and care (i.e. Medi-Cal, subsidies in Covered California, and our safety net programs). These programs need our support because our most vulnerable populations rely on them for their continued health. But sometimes it’s good to look at what remains the source of health coverage for the majority of Americans: employer-sponsored insurance (ESI).
Earlier this year, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Minnesota’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) released an interesting analysis of state-by-state trends in ESI over the past decade. Their findings showed that across the country ESI enrollment has decreased in the last 10 years, seemingly in line with a common criticism of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): that it will reduce the availability of and enrollment in ESI. However, the researchers caution that the ACA should be monitored and evaluated within the context of the larger trends in ESI over the years preceding its implementation:
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on King v. Burwell, a case that contests the subsidies available in the 36 states that have federally facilitated marketplaces or FFMs. The case is based on a hyper-literal, politically motivated mis-reading of Section 1311 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which says that subsidies are available to people “enrolled through an Exchange established by the State under 1311." At stake is nothing less than affordable coverage for 8 million Americans (See Kaiser Family Foundation’s helpful overview of King v. Burwell here).
No matter how it gets decided in June, King v. Burwell will have no impact in California – end of story. But it is fair to say that an adverse decision will create two health care Americas – one that provides peace of mind for its residents (California) and another that will put families right back where they started: at risk of not receiving the health care they need.
States like California that are implementing the ACA in good faith are already demonstrating that the law effectively increases health coverage, aids the long-term effort to lower costs, and creates helpful competition – something that could be achieved elsewhere if only a state had the will to implement the statute effectively.
CPEHN’s legislative briefing, Cultivating Health Equity, is this Thursday in Sacramento! We are very excited to bring together our founding ethnic partner organizations – the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, the California Black Health Network, the California Rural Indian Health Board, and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California – to highlight the top policy priorities for improving the health and well-being of communities of color in California this year. We are also looking forward to engaging conversations and presentations from top advocates and leaders in the fight for health equity. Here are a few highlights and speakers joining us at the Capitol this Thursday:
Multicultural Health Policy Agenda Our founding ethnic partners join us to highlight the top health policy priorities for communities of color.