By Angela Hart
San Francisco is scrambling to figure out how the Affordable Care Act will impact the city’s own landmark universal health legislation, less than three months before the full rollout of Obamacare.
Barbara Garcia, who runs the Department of Public Health, is leading a task force of health experts, business groups and labor leaders who have until the end of November to decipher what health experts are calling confusing and complex details in both the local and national health laws.
“The question for the task force is how do you make these two laws correspond,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at UC Berkeley who specializes in health policy, and who is also on the task force. “In my view, they correspond quite well, though there’s some work to do around the edges.”
Healthy San Francisco rolled out in 2006 to provide universal health access to the city’s 85,000 uninsured. Today, it covers about 60,000 people.
Now, health experts and city leaders are floating the idea of using Healthy San Francisco monies to help uninsured residents pay their Covered California premiums. Even with federal subsidies available under Obamacare, the cost of insurance may be out of reach for many, they say.
And, experts familiar with Healthy San Francisco say additional financial incentives for consumers will increase the number of young healthy people who sign up for insurance under Covered California, the state’s new health insurance marketplace. Continue reading