The new governor of California wants to restore the individual mandate at the state level. This is part of a Radical health plan Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled just hours after being sworn in On Monday. Here is a summary of the individual mandate, the Newsom proposal and its potential impact on Californians.
What is the individual mandate?
The individual mandate is a fine for people who do not have insurance. This is part of the Federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which has created federal and state markets where people can buy subsidized insurance.
The mandate ends this year after the federal government took action in 2017 to restore it. Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump said it was unfair to penalize people who choose not to buy insurance.
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The insurance markets are based on the fact that healthy people buy a blanket to make up for the losses of people in need of expensive care. The penalty for the individual mandate was to encourage people to buy insurance.
The rate of uninsured companies in California has dropped significantly under the Affordable Care Act. But UC Berkeley and UCLA researchers project that the reduction of the individual mandate by the federal government will lead to a further increase in the uninsured rate in California.
The researchers estimate that by 2020, 450,000 more Californians will be insured only if the federal government had left this mandate in place.
Will Newsom's plan reduce my insurance costs?
Newsom wants to restore the individual mandate at the state level to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and fund insurance subsidies for middle-income families.
The income from this penalty would subsidize health insurance for people earning up to $ 72,840 a year and families of four earning up to $ 150,600.
Can California do that?
Other states already have their own mandates. Massachusetts had one before the adoption of the Affordable Care Act. New Jersey and Vermont have also created individual mandates.
As a general rule, taxes must be approved by two-thirds of the California legislature. But because the individual mandate is a "penalty", it only requires the approval of the majority, said Newsom spokesman Nathan Click.
If California reinstates the individual mandate, will I be fined?
Since the individual mandate was in place until this year, Californians will probably not experience any change if the state reinstates it. If you are not fined for lack of insurance, you probably will not be under a state mandate.
Under the Affordable Care Act, people who would spend more than 8% of their income on insurance would not have to pay the penalty. Native Americans, incarcerated persons, undocumented immigrants and persons with religious exceptions are also exempt.
California would probably maintain these exceptions if it reinstated the individual mandate.
What else does Newsom do about health care?
The individual mandate proposal is just one aspect of Newsom's extensive health plans announced on Monday:
– It has signed a decree to consolidate state drug price negotiations by 2021. It is expected to give California better leverage to negotiate lower costs.
– He proposed to expand the state's Medicaid program to people living illegally in the country until the age of 26. Currently, children may be eligible regardless of their immigration status, but persons without legal status cease to be eligible at 19 years of age.
– He also signed a decree creating a surgeon general in California.