Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

California Health Leaders Call for "Culture of Coverage"

Jul 25, 2012

Key players in implementing the federal health overhaul in California say the public should be part of building a ‘culture of coverage.’

Kim Belshe is on the board of the California Health Benefit Exchange, an online marketplace where people will soon be able to buy coverage. She says in order for the federal health law to serve its purpose, schools, labor, faith and community organizations need to be on board.

"That's what we mean by a culture of coverage - kind of this community norm where health insurance coverage is something that is viewed as valued, available and expected. It's going to require a multifaceted all hands on deck effort."

Daniel Zingale of the California Endowment says California is a leader in implementing the federal health law. But a true ‘culture of coverage’ must include undocumented immigrants.

"We should be realistic from a public health point of view and recognize that their health is part of the health of this state and to think that we can make a political decision to exclude people based on their immigration status is not putting the health of California first."

Zingale says health costs go up when coverage isn’t extended to all.