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Financing Health Insurance Coverage: California's Revenue Structure and Options

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Publication Date: March 2008

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Tracy Gordon; Kim Rueben

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Health (Health care financing)

Keywords: Tax Policy; State and Local Issues; Health and Health Care; Health Insurance

Type: Paper

Abstract:

California's health care reform effort may have been one of the first casualties of the national economic downturn. Yet the conditions that gave rise to the initiative did not disappear when the plan failed, and other states are pushing ahead with proposals to expand health coverage. So it remains useful to reflect on the California experience. In particular, it will be helpful to understand the proposed funding sources, how they would have interacted with California's revenue system, and what alternative funding streams might have withstood the politics of reform. In this policy brief, we analyze the options for financing expanded health insurance coverage in California and offer our own preferred solution in light of the state's fiscal and political constraints.