Native American tribes unite to form a county-like group that will administer healthcare reform on reservations – and be responsive to the health needs of American Indians and Native Alaskans.
bridge to reform
As California begins to build a new health benefits marketplace that will be part of federal health reform, counties are debating whether to allow their public health insurance programs to be among the plans offered to consumers. Orange County has quickly decided to keep its public program out of the marketplace, but other counties, including Santa Barbara and San Francisco, may go the other way.
The Bridge to Reform is a $10 billion program that will transition low-income residents in California to a Medicare-like health coverage before the 2014 federal health care coverage mandate kicks in. That funding could bring much-needed changes, like providing patients with a medical home where they can get preventative care and where their medical histories are kept on file. But cash-strapped counties are worried – will the costs of extending coverage overrun their available funds, even with help from federal dollars?
As President Barack Obama struggles to implement — and defend — the health care reform he signed last year, he is finding that the public does not understand how the program is supposed to work, and based on what they do know, many voters doubt the overhaul will help them in the end.
Eleven thousand Monterey County residents are expected to be eligible for healthcare benefits under the Bridge to Reform program, according to an estimate by the UCLA Center for Public Health Research. But the county can only afford to insure 1,000 to 1,500 of them this year, even though the federal government will match its spending dollar for dollar.