Peninsula committee launches health reform outreach

A group charged with helping implement the federal health care reform legislation in San Mateo County is launching a new effort to educate local residents about how the landmark bill affects them.

An initial sign of the work of the Community Health Reform Advocacy Committee, made up of 30 elected officials and community members from around the Peninsula, will appear Tuesday as the county launches a new website for the group.

The site will help residents connect with one of the first programs of the reform pushed through by President Barack Obama’s administration — a statewide insurance plan for people with pre-existing conditions funded by $761 million from the federal government.

Uninsured residents who have been unemployed for six months, have a health condition and have been denied individual coverage may be eligible for the plan, which is scheduled to begin covering patients this month.

“As more details emerge, we’ll hopefully have a lot more information to give to people,” said Eric Pawlowsky, legislative aide for Supervisor Carole Groom, who co-chairs the committee.

The committee, which formed out of an earlier effort to fund a local expansion of health care coverage, hopes to keep residents up to date about when the various provisions of the complex bill take effect between now and its full implementation in 2014.

Group members will be researching new sources of funding to care for uninsured residents before the federal programs are fully in place.

“It may be a reach, but we’d like to see that if some funding is available we’re in line for it,” Groom said.

Health coverage resources

– California Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan: www.pcip.ca.gov
– San Mateo County Health Coverage hot line: (650) 616-2002 or visit www.smcchi.org

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

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