California Moves Forward With Exchange Following Election

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On Wednesday, California officials disclosed plans to spend nearly $90 million next year on marketing and outreach efforts for the state health benefit exchange, the Los Angeles Times reports. Observers say that the move is in response to the re-election of President Obama.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- Obama's GOP challenger in the election -- had vowed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which established the state exchanges.

Peter Lee -- executive director of the California Health Benefit Exchange, renamed Covered California -- said, "The election removes what was really the last distraction from focusing on the job, which is to get millions of Californians enrolled in health coverage" (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 11/7).

Exchange Details

The ACA requires states to launch online insurance marketplaces by 2014. California's exchange primarily will serve individuals and small businesses.

About 4.4 million Californians are expected to use the exchange by the end of 2016. Officials plan to open registration for the exchange in October 2013 (California Healthline, 11/1).

Implementation Details

Next week, the exchange board likely will finalize its plans for marketing and enrollment ahead of a Nov. 16 federal deadline (Los Angeles Times, 11/7).

Officials also are working to finalize a federal grant proposal that will seek continued funding for exchange preparation until its 2014 launch (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 11/7).

Insurers Prepare for Exchange Launch

Meanwhile, health insurers also are preparing for the launch of the exchange by:

  • Building networks of health care providers;
  • Negotiating rates; and
  • Designing various health plans that comply with the exchange's benefit requirements.
Paul Markovich -- president of Blue Shield of California -- said, "There are lots of details to sort out, and we don't have all that much time" (Los Angeles Times, 11/7).
Catherine Yanda
How much of that $90 million will be for entry to mid-level job creation? "marketing & outreach" seems like a very broad category to park $90 million for a program that will not show a profit
David Dickinson
Oh, and as to where the money is coming from, well, it's being borrowed and eventually you and I will be paying it back in taxes with interest.
David Dickinson
Clark, Do not question the leaders. You may find yourself being audited. Seriously though, you're right. I think the purpose of this money being spent for "outreach" is based on the fact that the democrats just have to make ACA work no matter what, because, as Barney Frank once said, it's the first step towards nationalized health insurance. They have to get as many people on it, squeeze out the private insurers by using taxpayers' money to undercut them, and leave the people with no real options. I remember when ACA first passed, the insurers I spoke to had thrills because they thought the mandate would bring them more clients. I suspect they're rethinking the whole thing now that the federal government is injecting two competing insurers into the exchanges, backed by federal funds. If things go the way the democrats want, there'll be taxpayer funded universal healthcare in this country within 10 years and no alternative choices for anyone.
Clark Norwood
Still interested in where the $90 million is coming from, new revenue or already set aside for this purpose?
david fabienke
That's called getting the required information out about the exchanges so that they can be implemented properly. Now that officials don't have to wonder whether or not they should move ahead with plans in the event of efforts at repeal they can actually get to work. This isn't marketing to try and sell a product. I wonder how much money has or would have been wasted on trying to repeal the ACA. Inquiring minds would like to know.

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