Could Healthy San Francisco Help People Buy Obamacare Plans?

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(Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

A lot of San Franciscans are saying “no thanks” to the Affordable Care Act. As the cost of living rises in the city, even subsidized health insurance doesn’t feel affordable to many residents.

Supervisor David Campos says that, as a result, not enough people in the city are signing up for health insurance. He wants to change that.

“Without supplemental help, many people won’t get insurance,” he says.

For example, a person who makes less than $46,000/year can get financial assistance from the federal government to help pay the health insurance premium. That subsidy could bring a monthly payment for a silver plan originally quoted at $400 down to $200. But Campos says that’s still too much for many local residents who are struggling to pay skyrocketing rents.

“The subsidies that are provided are the same nationwide. A subsidy of ‘X’ amount in Iowa means something different in San Francisco,” he says.

He will introduce an amendment to San Francisco health law at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting. He wants to redirect money that local businesses pay to fund the city’s current health coverage program, Healthy San Francisco, to create additional subsidies. That could potentially cut monthly payments in half again, perhaps bringing monthly premiums under $100, depending on how businesses choose to comply. If passed, the new law will take effect October 1, 2014.

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