Opinion: With Basic Health Care Plan, California Can Lead in Health Care Reform

Tucked into the Affordable Health Care Act signed into law last year by President Obama was a little-known but potentially significant option for states that allows the offering of basic health plans – quality coverage for as little as $30 per month – to low-income families and legal immigrants. The basic health program would be run by the state government but financed by the federal government. It is targeted at low-income working adults who have incomes just above Medicaid levels ($15,000 to $21,800) as well as legal immigrants who are not eligible for Medicaid. These Medicaid-like plans would be an affordable alternative to buying federally-mandated insurance from the “Exchange” – the new marketplace of plans from which uninsured Californians will buy their health insurance coverage.

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