Keeping people, economy healthy

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A segment of the population is holding its breath while wondering what action Congress will take, though the consequences will affect more than those directly involved.

At the end of this month House representatives will go on summer break and admnistrators operating California’s healthcare marketplace, Covered California, will probably still have no idea if Congress will extend America Rescue Plan Act funding.

If the rush back to pre-pandemic “normal” is consistent and normal, we’ll see the GOP slash or eliminate dollars earmarked for subsidized healthcare.

The Republican party has long been a champion of “boot straps” living and preferred health coverage be tied to employment rather than employed as a social safety net.

The disaster that is the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the weakness of that philosophy as millions of people across the country lost their jobs. And their health insurance. And their good health.
And, in some cases, their lives.

The American Rescue Plan allocated billions to subsidize state run insurance marketplaces. As a result the millions who had lost their health insurance because they lost their job were now able to afford coverage through their state plans. What’s more the infusion of funds also made enrollment possible for those who were lucky enough to keep their jobs during the pandemic but were still not able to afford coverage.

You may know those people colloquially as the working poor. Or, more intimately, as brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors—the people around us just trying to get by and stay healthy. And not die.

If Congress doesn’t extend the rescue plan funding it’s estimated 1 million Californians will see their state premiums double. Those few dollars they are currently saving and most likely putting back into the local economy will disappear.

Worse yet, Covered California administrators estimate more than 200,000 people will drop their coverage altogether because they won’t be able to afford the new rates. That, too, is bad for the economy as the only thing less productive than a sick worker is a dead worker.
Keeping healthcare affordable for everyone is not just good for communities. It’s good for business.

Keeping people, economy healthy