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Catastrophic Insurance Bill

September 15, 1988

The article by Leo Wolinsky (Part I, Sept. 1) regarding legislation to offer catastrophic health insurance sponsored by Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys), implies an impact that far transcends the bill's focus.

If signed by the governor, this bill will make comprehensive health coverage available to individuals who cannot presently secure private health coverage for any price because of preexisting medical conditions. It will create a California Health Coverage Assn. to which persons denied coverage may apply. Any California resident applying will be assured coverage, but rates will be as much as 150% of average private rates.

The bill was supported by a coalition of organizations representing physicians, hospitals, nurses and health insurers, as well as organizations representing persons suffering from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, ileitis and colitis, and multiple sclerosis. And while many thousands of uninsurable Californians will benefit from such a program, the greatest proportion of the 5 million persons in this state who are uninsured will probably not be able to take advantage of it.

The far larger problem--what do we do about the remaining uninsured millions?--has not yet been addressed by legislation. Though our association and other groups supporting this bill are dedicated to solving the uninsured problem, it is essential that the bill not be misconstrued by your readers to purport to solve what remains unaddressed.

BRENT A. BARNHART

Associate Counsel

Assn. of California

Life Insurance Companies

Sacramento

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