California: Once More Unto the Health Care Breach

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Earlier this week, the California Assembly approved a plan that would provide access to basic health care for the nearly 4 million Californians who currently lack it. One of the key elements of the plan is a tax credit, available to low- and moderate-income families who purchase health care on their own and intended to ensure that their healthcare costs do not exceed a certain share of their incomes.

While the plan has the support of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, much about it remains in flux. The state Senate will not consider the plan until mid-January at the earliest and a means of funding the more than $14 billion in costs it would incur are not included in the enabling legislation. As it now stands, funding for the plan will be decided by a ballot initiative in November 2008. Still, the Assembly's plan is one more example of states stepping into the void created by federal inaction on this critical matter. The California Budget Project provides a brief summary of the plan here.

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