Groups urge Gov Newsom to end medical rewards / Public News Service

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California’s lower-income families may have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year for medical health insurance premiums – payments that were waived during the pandemic.

Once the public health emergency subsides, the pandemic exemption will expire – so groups advocating for children and families are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to include the rewards in his next budget proposal, due by Jan. 10 is to delete.

Fatima Clark, deputy director of health policy at Children Now, said reimbursement of premiums could leave families in trouble with no coverage.

“With no end in sight to this public health crisis, we shouldn’t be preventing families from receiving care,” said Clark. “These are households that have borne the brunt of the pandemic but are still struggling to make ends meet and get food on the table.”

Only three other states require low-income families to pay monthly contributions in their state health insurance programs.

Almost 160,000 pregnant women and families with children received special permits between March and September of this year.

Opponents of permanent waiver cite budgetary concerns. Clark estimated it would cost the state about $ 8 million a year.

More than 450 organizations recently signed a letter calling on the governor to forego doctors’ rewards. Clark said the move would improve access to care for up to 700,000 Californians.

“The health and financial well-being of many low-income families is at risk,” said Clark. “If lawmakers are serious about promoting economic security for families and communities, getting rid of medical rewards next year should be a breeze.”

Last year the state allocated US $ 20 million to provide zero dollar premiums for some health insurance plans in CoveredCA.

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