The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed tragic shortcomings in California’s preparedness for infrequent but catastrophic public health threats. This failure has caused serious health consequences—in addition to being financially myopic. One specific type of prevention investment that is widely recognized to be crucial is the stockpiling of personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers.
Laurel Lucia is director of the Health Care Program at the Labor Center, where she has worked since 2009 analyzing health care policy. Recent papers have examined the health coverage and economic impacts of Affordable Care Act repeal on California, California’s Medicaid expansion, health insurance for California immigrants, and the remaining uninsured in California. She also analyzes the economic impact of public policy changes. Her work has been covered in the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, and National Public Radio. Previously, Laurel worked on issues affecting health care workers as a researcher/policy analyst for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). She has served as an elected officer for two unions. Laurel holds a Master of Public Policy from UC Berkeley and a Bachelor’s in Public Policy from Stanford University.
Many California workers are at risk of losing their job-based health coverage when they lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this data brief, we examine which types of health insurance, if any, the workers most at risk of job loss had prior to this crisis. We use this analysis to inform our estimate that for every 100,000 California workers losing their jobs due to the pandemic, up to 67,000 workers, spouses, and children are at risk of losing job-based coverage.
Modified Adjusted Gross Income under the Affordable Care Act – UPDATED WITH INFORMATION FOR COVID-19 POLICIES
Under the Affordable Care Act, eligibility for income-based Medicaid and subsidized health insurance through the Marketplaces is calculated using a household’s Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI). The Affordable Care Act definition of MAGI under the Internal Revenue Code and federal Medicaid regulations is shown below.
In this blog post, we first identify the industries most directly at risk of jobs loss and then outline principles for state and local policy responses to this crisis, highlighting immediate policy priorities.
This is the eighth post in the Labor Center’s blog series “Rising Health Care Costs in California: A Worker Issue.”
Enrollment could also be lagging because the service industry has been hit hard, and many low-income workers in restaurants, bars or salons were already enrolled in Medi-Cal. “About a quarter who were at risk of losing jobs were already enrolled when the crisis started,” said Laurel Lucia.
Laurel Lucia, director of the health care program at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, says some people will still face a fine. “I think it’s worth exploring whether a temporary exemption is needed for Californians who have lost coverage due to COVID-related hardship, but are not eligible for one of the existing exemptions,” she said.