Obama in­sists re­form works, praises Calif.’s pre­mi­ums

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - — Jessica Zig­mond

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama pro­moted the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act in Cal­i­for­nia on Fri­day, a sig­nal that the White House is shift­ing into cam­paign mode in the fi­nal months be­fore the core cov­er­age pro­vi­sions go live. Amid con­flict­ing ev­i­dence and claims re­gard­ing the law’s ef­fects on in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums, Obama in­sisted the law is work­ing as it should and praised lower-than-ex­pected rates in Cal­i­for­nia. He also touted a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship there to help Amer­i­cans en­roll in cov­er­age later this year. Speak­ing at the Fair­mont Ho­tel San Jose, the pres­i­dent pro­moted a part­ner­ship among Cov­ered Cal­i­for­nia (the state’s health in­sur­ance ex­change), the Cal­i­for­nia En­dow­ment, and three Span­ish-speak­ing me­dia out­lets— Im­preme­dia, Tele­mu­ndo Sta­tion Group and Univi­sion—that joined ef­forts this year to ed­u­cate Cal­i­for­ni­ans about the law and help them get ac­cess to cov­er­age when open en­roll­ment be­gins Oct. 1. The Cal­i­for­nia En­dow­ment will pour $25 mil­lion over two years into the part­ner­ship, ac­cord­ing to a spokes­woman. It’s not sur­pris­ing that the pres­i­dent pro­moted the law in Cal­i­for­nia, which has the na­tion’s largest in­sur­ance mar­ket and is home to about 6 mil­lion unin­sured Amer­i­cans. And there’s an­other rea­son: The White House views young, healthy in­di­vid­u­als as a key tar­get au­di­ence for the ex­changes, and the ad­min­is­tra­tion es­ti­mates that nearly one-third of young, healthy Amer­i­cans live in three states: Cal­i­for­nia, Florida and Texas. About 2.6 mil­lion Cal­i­for­ni­ans—nearly half of whom are Lati­nos—will qual­ify for tax cred­its that will, in some cases, lower their pre­mi­ums sig­nif­i­cantly, Obama said.

AP PHOTO

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama ar­rives late last week in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area, where he pro­moted ef­forts to en­roll Cal­i­for­ni­ans in new cov­er­age un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act.

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