California Rejects Obama's Healthcare Quick Fix

Image: California Rejects Obama's Healthcare Quick Fix Executive director of Covered California Peter Lee.

Thursday, 21 Nov 2013 08:18 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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California's state health insurance exchange voted Thursday against extending healthcare policies past the end of the year for about 1 million policyholders, delivering a blow to President Obama's quick-fix proposal, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The five-member panel of Covered California, the state exchange, rejected the extension citing a concern that it would further confuse consumers and that widespread renewals could keep healthy customers out of the broader risk pool and have an imbalance in the overall rates.

"We know this transition is difficult and some people will be hurt," Covered California board member Susan Kennedy told the Times. "But delaying the transition won't solve a single problem."

The president's proposal to allow insurers to renew individual plans about to be canceled came in response to public outcry.

The president has been accused of misleading the public over his signature Affordable Care Act, promising anyone who liked their current plan could keep it.

California joins about eight other states that have decided to “stay the course,” including Washington and New York, Covered California executive director Peter Lee told the Sacramento Business Journal.

“We need to help consumers understand their options," Lee said, adding that for many facing cancellation, coverage through the exchange will be better and less expensive than what they have now.

Board members approved an alternative plan that extends the enrollment deadline for coverage in 2014 to Dec. 23 and the payment deadline to Jan. 5, the Journal reported.

Covered California said almost 80,000 people have enrolled in private health plans.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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