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(Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

A lot of San Franciscans are saying “no thanks” to the Affordable Care Act. As the cost of living rises in the city, even subsidized health insurance doesn’t feel affordable to many residents.

Supervisor David Campos says that, as a result, not enough people in the city are signing up for health insurance. He wants to change that.

“Without supplemental help, many people won’t get insurance,” he says.

For example, a person who makes less than $46,000/year can get financial assistance from the federal government to help pay the health insurance premium. That subsidy could bring a monthly payment for a silver plan originally quoted at $400 down to $200. But Campos says that’s still too much for many local residents who are struggling to pay skyrocketing rents.

“The subsidies that are provided are the same nationwide. A subsidy of ‘X’ amount in Iowa means something different in San Francisco,” he says.

He will introduce an amendment to San Francisco health law at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting. He wants to redirect money that local businesses pay to fund the city’s current health coverage program, Healthy San Francisco, to create additional subsidies. That could potentially cut monthly payments in half again, perhaps bringing monthly premiums under $100, depending on how businesses choose to comply. If passed, the new law will take effect October 1, 2014.

Author

April Dembosky

April Dembosky is the health reporter for The California Report and KQED News. She covers health policy and public health, and has reported extensively on the economics of health care, the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act in California, mental health and end-of-life issues.

Her work is regularly rebroadcast on NPR and has been recognized with awards from the Society for Professional Journalists (for sports reporting), and the Association of Health Care Journalists (for a story about pediatric hospice). Her hour-long radio documentary about home funerals won the Best New Artist award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009.

April occasionally moonlights on the arts beat, covering music and dance. Her story about the first symphony orchestra at Burning Man won the award for Best Use of Sound from the Public Radio News Directors Inc.

Before joining KQED in 2013, April covered technology and Silicon Valley for The Financial Times, and freelanced for Marketplace and The New York Times. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Smith College.

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