Affordable Care Act
Starting January 2014, most Californians will have access to affordable, quality health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).
Now more of us can afford to see our doctors regularly, we can stop having to choose between buying medicine or buying food, and we will no longer live in fear that a medical emergency will bankrupt us for life.
Beginning October 1, 2013 you can enroll in affordable healthcare at www.CoveredCA.com.
San Francisco Rising is running a 3 week outreach program in October 2013 to educate thousands of working class San Franciscans about the Affordable Care Act and the need to keep our local Healthy San Francisco (see below) program even as Obamacare is fully implemented.
Why We Still Need Healthy San Francisco
Even after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, the City estimates that some 50,000 San Franciscans will still be uninsured. That’s why we still need the flagship Healthy San Francisco program, which currently provides health care (not insurance) to tens of thousands of city residents — regardless of income, age or immigration status.
This has not stopped the Chamber of Commerce and other powerful business groups like the Golden Gate Restaurant Association – the same people who never wanted Healthy San Francisco to exist in the first place and (unsuccessfully) sued our City all the way to the Supreme Court to block implementation of the program back in 2006 — from claiming that Healthy San Francisco’s employer spending requirement (that is, the financial lifeblood of Healthy SF) is no longer needed. This is simply not true!
Even under the Affordable Care Act, Healthy San Francisco will be particularly important for the following San Franciscans:
Restaurant, retail, and other hourly workers: Obamacare incentivizes employers to cut workers’ schedules below 30 hours per week. This provision was written into the bill by conservatives and big companies like Walmart.
Ineligible for the Exchanges: The state healthcare exchange Covered California is prohibited from offering coverage – even unsubsidized coverage – to undocumented residents. These workers are a major portion of San Francisco’s economic base – particularly in hourly positions, and particularly in the hospitality and retail industries.
Continuing financial obstacles to coverage: ObamaCare subsidies are not enough to prevent significant financial hardship for many workers – particularly in high-cost-of-living cities like SF. For example, a full-time cook earning $14/hour would have to pay about $200/month for subsidized coverage – which is prohibitive when median rents now exceed $2000 per bedroom.
Five ways the Affordable Care Act will benefit Californians:
AFFORDABLE CARE. Health insurance will now be more affordable, and more people in need can qualify for Medi-cal or subsidized monthly premiums.
EQUAL ACCESS. Health insurance companies won’t be able to drop or deny you because of pre-existing conditions or illness.
ESSENTIAL BENEFITS. All health insurance plans must cover essential benefits like preventative health care, mental health and substance abuse services, birth control and prescription drugs.
EXPANDS COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE. Children can now stay on their parent’s health insurance until 26 years old, even if they don’t live at home or are married.
HOLDS LARGE CORPORATIONS RESPONSIBLE. The Affordable Care Act requires large corporations to provide or subsidize healthcare for their employees beginning in 2015, and provides support to small businesses so they can afford to provide care.
The Affordable Care Act also benefits those who currently have insurance through their employers. You won’t have to enroll in new health insurance, but your existing insurance will now be more comprehensive.