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How ACA works in California

November 25, 2013

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In California, the Affordable Care Act will “fill in the gaps” for people who didn’t have health coverage, through Covered California, the California health marketplace. It will also make it easier to enroll in Medi-Cal (the state’s Medicaid program), Kristen Golden Testa, director of the California Health Program of  The Children’s Partnership, said.

“The policymakers and administrators in California have been really enthusiastic about being a leader in the nation in rolling out the Affordable Care Act,” she added, noting that California was the first state to establish its own marketplace, and that its agencies have worked together to make sure that people are getting quality, affordable insurance with no gaps in coverage.

Currently many children in California don’t have insurance even though they are eligible for it. California chose to expand its Medicaid program and get reimbursed by the federal government (an option available to all states under the Affordable Care Act).

This means that more adults will be able to get insurance, and when adults are able to get coverage their children are more likely to be covered, Testa said.

Researchers at the UC Berkeley Labor Center have estimated that more than 400,000 children will get health insurance through the state marketplace, including 140,000 whose parents will receive a subsidy to pay for their insurance.

This is important, Testa said, because “it’s been demonstrated that when children have health insurance they are better able to learn in school, as well as stay healthy.”