LA Times: Healthcare overhaul may threaten California’s safety net

If public hospitals and clinics lose too much funding, county health leaders say, who will treat the uninsured? About 10% of Californians could still lack coverage after the law takes full effect. 

By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles TimesFebruary 25, 2013, 10:45 p.m.

 

Millions of uninsured Californians will gain medical coverage under the national healthcare overhaul beginning in January, but Guadalupe Luna won’t be one of them.

Luna, an illegal immigrant and tamale vendor in Los Angeles, doesn’t qualify. So she will continue going to the clinic where she has received free care for more than 20 years: Los Angeles County’s Hudson Comprehensive Health Center. There, publicly funded doctors will help manage her diabetesand high cholesterol.

An estimated 3 million to 4 million Californians — about 10% of the state’s population — could remain uninsured even after the healthcare overhaul law takes full effect. The burden of their care will fall to public hospitals, county health centers and community clinics. And those institutions may be in jeopardy.

County health leaders and others say the national health law has had the unintended consequence of threatening the financial stability of the state’s safety net.

Newly insured patients who no longer have to rely on public hospitals and clinics may seek care elsewhere, meaning a loss in revenue, they say. And under the federal law, some of the funding that goes to safety-net hospitals is also set to decrease.

Continue reading here: http://lat.ms/WwRV1W

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