The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

ABX1-1 Projected to Reduce California’s Uninsured by 70%

Posted by Alan on January 16, 2008

When an analysis of health care reform proposals is required, California turns to Jonathan Gruber, Ph.D. of MIT’s Department of Economics. Previously he projected the impact Assembly Bill 8 and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s original health care reform proposal would have on California’s uninsured population (AB 8, for those who have forgotten, was the reform package put forward by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata).

Now that Assembly Bill X1-1 has passed the Assembly, it’s time for another report. Officially presented with the catchy title “Population Movement Estimates for Health Care Reform under ABX1-1 with the Voter Initiative Filed December 28, 2007,” it estimates how many of those currently uninsured in California would obtain coverage if ABX1-1 were to become law. If the Senate amends the bill substantially, these numbers could change.

To cut to the chase: of the 5.1 million Californians under the age of 65 who are currently uninsured, 3.6 million, or 70 percent, would be covered. While reducing the uninsured rate to less than five percent isn’t technically “universal” coverage, it can be seen as “mostly universal.”

Dr. Gruber projects about 400,000 of those currently insured in the individual market would leave that market and obtain coverage elsewhere. Employers, who under ABX1-1 would be required to either offer health benefits or pay a fee to the state, are projected to provide insurance for 100,000 more Californians than they do now. The biggest shift would be toward the state-run purchasing pool ABX1-1 seeks to create. Dr. Gruber estimates the pool will enroll 2.5 million residents.

Of the 1.49 million uninsured Californians living in poverty, Dr. Gruber estimates nearly 800,000 would gain coverage under the legislation. Of the three million Californians (again, below the age of 65) whose household income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, he projects ABX1-1 would help 1.75 million get health care benefits.

Studies of this nature are always speculative. Whether they’re art or science depends on the reader. They must pull assumptions from other studies. They have to impose simplifying assumptions. To call them educated guesses is to minimize the amount of science involved, but the fact remains, give three economists the same data and you’ll wind up with four conflicting reports (there’s always one overachiever in the bunch).

Over the next few weeks, then, various critiques of his study will emerge. For now, however, Dr. Gruber’s report has the stage to itself. Given his credibility in Sacramento, these are the numbers that will be cited in the Senate Health Committee’s hearing today when it reviews the health care reform proposals put forward by Senate Republicans. And, even more frequently, these are the statistics that will be heard when the Committee takes up ABX1-1 on January 23rd.


One Response to “ABX1-1 Projected to Reduce California’s Uninsured by 70%”

  1. Calcined Clay said

    In California so many peoples have no health care activities and no related to any health care institution. It is a big report. To solve it, Governor of California Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger have a step to full fit this requirement. I really impressed to this social work. It is also their service and their responsibility to maintain their social welfare activities.
    calcined clay

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