A12 The Sacramento Bee I Thursday, March 24, 2011
EDITORIALS | Views of the editorial board
Year-old health reform remains largely unknown
GET WORD OUT ON WHATS AVAILABLE
What we've got here is a failure to communicate, said both the captain and the chain gang prisoner in -the 1967 motfe "Cool Hand Luke." The same could be said about the year-old Affordable Care Act.
Americans still have little idea how they can take advantage of the new .law. The latest Kaiser Health tracking poll shows that a majority of Americans say they are confused or do not have enough information to understand how health reform will impact them personally.
That's a failure of congressional Democrats, who ran away from their signature achievement in the 2010 election. It's a failure of President 'Barack Obama in not employing the bully pulpit to make the case for the reform. It's also the result of congressional Republicans seeking to undermine the law before it has a chance to succeed.
¥et only 21 percent in the Kaiser poll would repeal the law without replacement reforms.
The word needs to get out.
Other surveys show that most of California's 503,000 small businesses with fewer than 25 employees remain unfamiliar with new tax credits that would help them offset the costs of purchasing coverage for their.employees.
Most of the 20,000 Californians who have been uninsured for at least six months and have been denied coverage by insurance companies due to a pre-existing condition such as diabetes, asthma, cancer or HIV/AIDS - have yet to access coverage from the new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan. To date, fewer than 2,000 have enrolled.
An estimated 196,000 of California's uninsured young adults (up to age 26) could gain insurance coverage if they knew that insurance companies are now required to allow their parents to keep them on their insurance plans (if they don't get insurance through their job).
How many of California's 4.3 million seniors who have Medicare coverage know they can receive (as of Jan. 1) free preventive services - like mammograms and colonoscopies -as well as a free annual wellness visit with their doctor?
None of this information is easily accessible in one place. You have to be enterprising to find it across numerous agencies. California needs a more user-friendly website where people can find what*s available and how to access it. The links below are a start, but imperfect.
And who's preparing the public now for 2014, when state exchanges will offer coverage to individuals and small businesses?
Start explaining, please. Health reform is too important to leave to the naysayers.
For more information
click on "Health Care and You"
Go to www.healthhelp.ca.gov.
M Call (888) 466-2219.