Blue Shield of California statement from President & CEO Paul Markovich regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act

Paul Markovich, President & CEO of Blue Shield of California

Our mission at Blue Shield of California is to ensure that all Californians have access to high quality health care at an affordable price. It is the standard against which we measure all health care policy proposals. Unfortunately, the current Better Care Reconciliation Act does not meet that standard and therefore we oppose it.

Under the Affordable Care Act, 5 million Californians have obtained meaningful, and potentially life-saving, access to health care — many for the first time. This bill would put coverage out of reach or even take coverage away from far too many of them. California is not alone. States all across the country would not be able to make up for the dramatic cuts in federal Medicaid funding and would be forced to take people off the program or to reduce benefits. This is not an acceptable outcome.

While the bill takes important steps to stabilize the individual commercial market, the reduction in financial assistance and the elimination of help for paying out-of-pocket costs eventually would mean that many would not be able to afford the care they need. For example, the revised tax credit would be based on a high-deductible plan, which would require a deductible of $7,350 under current rules. When the cost sharing reduction program ends, a person earning $16,600 a year could face a deductible of more than 40 percent of their household income on top of their premium costs. While the bill provides some funding that could alleviate these changes, it is not sufficient and it is not permanent.

The proposed legislation attempts to reduce the federal government’s fiscal burden of providing health care, and we fully support that goal. The status quo is not a viable long-term option. We need reforms that actually drive down health care cost trends so that high quality health care is affordable for everyone — including individuals, employers and state governments — not just the federal government.

Therefore, while we encourage senators to vote “no” on this bill in its current form, we also encourage Congress to continue their efforts to reform health care. There are ways to change the current system and make it sustainably affordable and fiscally responsible in the long-term, while preserving coverage for the most vulnerable among us. Please continue the conversation until we get to a bill that does just that.

Background on Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 4 million members, 6,800 employees and more than $17 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare health care service plans in California. The company’s mission is to ensure all Californians have access to high-quality care at an affordable price. Blue Shield has contributed more than $450 million to the Blue Shield of California Foundation since 2002. Contact your local agent or broker about Blue Shield of California products and services, or visit www.blueshieldca.com.

Media Contact: Lauren Bartlett
Corporate Communications
415-229-5359
media@blueshieldca.com