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Nunez Health Reform Bill Establishes Mandatory Purchase Without Linking to Subsidies for Middle Class and Poor
Date:11/13/2007

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In either an inadvertent omission or a betrayal of core constituencies, legislation introduced by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez lacks any mention of the tax credits he promised to help middle-class families purchase mandatory health insurance that is otherwise unaffordable, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).

FTCR also expressed concern that though the funding source for expansion of health coverage is to be approved by voters after the bill is passed, nothing in the bill appears to make the mandatory purchase of health insurance contingent on its passage. If a middle-class tax credit and other subsidies are to be left to an ensuing ballot measure, and the ballot measure does not pass, the individual mandate could still be put into effect.

In a letter to Nunez, available below, FTCR said:

"We have reviewed your bill and it fails on the key indicators of universal coverage. Health care is not guaranteed to be affordable, not guaranteed to be available, and choices for consumers are reduced, not increased.

"We realize that you are running out of time in the special session, and special interests are pushing you to deliver on their demands. Health care is too important, and the risk of making things worse in the ensuing haste is too great, to put getting it done ahead of getting it right."

FTCR urged Nunez to push immediately for an expansion of the state's Children's Health Insurance Program, and leave broader reforms, the details of which are just becoming public, until early next year when they can be rationally considered.

Most families making under 450% of the poverty level would be unable to afford the average cost of $12,000 in yearly premiums for a family of four. AB 1X1 virtually assures that workers will bear more of the cost burden because the bill significantly reduces the amount that employers must contribute to health insuranc
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SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
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