This Holiday Season, Contribute to the Progress & Promise of Health Reform

HEALTH ACCESS APPEAL
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROGRESS AND PROMISE OF HEALTH REFORM
Please Consider Health Access Foundation in Your Holiday Giving

Help Win the Budget and Policy Changes so Californians Get the Care We Need, When We Need It, Without Fear of Financial Ruin

What We Did Together This Year:
* Expanded Coverage to 200,000+ Californians in County-Based Low-Income Health Plans
* Got Insurers to Cover California Children with Pre-Existing Conditions
* Helped Ensure New Access for 5,000+ in the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program
* Won New Consumer Protections, from Maternity Coverage to Medical Loss Ratios
* Helped Save Ratepayers Hundreds of Millions as Health Insurance Rates Scrutinized
* Worked to Improve Consumer Assistance, Eligibility and Enrollment, to Be Ready for 2014

Health Access Needs Your Contribution to Help:
* Fight Budget Cuts, and Win the Reforms and Revenues to Sustain Our Health System
* Implement *and* Improve Health Reform in California
* Advocate and Organize for Consumers with Policymakers, the Press, and the Public

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Tough budget cuts at the state and federal level. Efforts to roll back recent progress in the courts and Congress. An uncertain economy and political environment.

Yet despite these challenges, we in California are still making advances toward the promise of health reform, that all Californians get the care they need, when they need it, without fear of financial ruin. With your help, Health Access helped lead the fight to pass reform in California–but there’s much more to do. We hope you can contribute to Health Access Foundation to continue the progress.

Our efforts to implement and improve the Affordable Care Act have yielded real results for Californians, both in immediate benefits in 2011 and in investments that will yield fruit in 2014.

Here are some examples:

* When the ACA provision forbidding children being denied insurance due to pre-existing conditions went into effect, some insurers decided to withdraw “child-only” health policies altogether. Health Access developed, advocated, and won new rules so that insurers that don’t sell to children can’t sell to adults either. This got insurers this year to serve *all* children–and to provide price protections against overcharging as well.

* Californians saved millions of dollars as health insurers retracted, rolled back, and rebated their rate hikes, in part due to the new review of rates that we won, which require public disclosure of rate changes and their justifications. We are continuing to push for a broader rate regulation, to allow regulators to not just review but also to reject unjustified rate increases.

* Today in California, less that 15% of individual insurance market plans include maternity coverage. Our research showed women in some counties have only one option for maternity coverage; a $5,000 deductible plan. This will change next year, after a decade of Health Access, working with women’s groups and others, supporting multiple efforts in California to require maternity care is part of the basic health benefit. The ACA does include maternity as a basic benefit in 2014, and Governor Brown signed bills this year to set the requirement early, in mid-2012, to the benefit of California families.

* In the midst of a budget crisis, California is actually expanding health care coverage using new federal funds, with over 200,000 getting care now. As part of the Medicaid waiver stakeholders advisory committee, Health Access helped develop the idea of allowing counties to use the federal matching dollars available under the ACA. These new county-based Low Income Health Programs could cover over a half-million Californians in the next two years, and then every enrolled person will be transferred into fully federally-funded coverage in January 2014. Health Access has actively organized in key counties to reach that goal.

These are just some of the advances where Health Access has had an impact. As you can see, Health Access plays an integral role in all of these efforts and more; fighting to protect California health care consumers; working with policymakers to achieve timely implementation of ACA provisions; and advocating for additional improvements in health care policies to ensure quality, affordable health care is accessible to everyone.

As we are moving forward to implement and improve federal health care reform, the state’s ongoing budget crisis threatens devastating cuts that jeopardize California’s existing health care safety-net on which millions already rely. We will make sure that the real cost and impacts of proposed cuts are understood, offer alternatives to them, and work with grassroots groups to make sure the voices of their constituents are heard.

Because the challenges and opportunities are so great, I urge you to make a tax-deductible gift to Health Access Foundation and become a partner in our efforts to fulfill the promise of reform here in California. On our website, you can contribute online, or download a form.

At this crucial time, we need to both prevent the worst, such as budget cuts and efforts to repeal reform; as well as organize and advocate for the best, including better implementation and improvements that go beyond the federal law.

With your support, Health Access Foundation will continue to empower Californians to engage in the debate, and to win policy victories on behalf of health care consumers.

We would greatly appreciate your contribution to help make it a happy and healthy holiday season. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Anthony E. Wright
Executive Director

P.S. Opponents of health care reform are aggressively working to gut the ACA and undo the progress already made. Your support will not only help us continue efforts to implement and improve the ACA; you will also help us fight back and defend this historic law and the millions of Californians who benefit from it

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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