Gov. Jerry Brown isn't ready to jump on the bandwagon to delay the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of Californians' individual health care plans... but he doesn't seem ready to simply leave those folks hanging, either.
"We're following our own path," said Brown on Tuesday when asked whether he supports President Obama's plan for a one year delay on cancelling plans that aren't compliant with the Affordable Care Act.
The governor, appearing at a Sacramento event to promote vision care for low-income kids, suggested state officials will seek some kind of middle ground when they convene later this week.
"We're going to be very careful to both be sensitive to all the potential customers," said Brown, "and also the financial viability going forward, so the rates are attractive not just for this year but for many years to come."
Perhaps as many as one quarter of the Californians facing cancellation of their individual plan by year's end have now been told they can extend that plan through the end of March. Last week, state insurance commissioner Dave Jones announced agreements with both Anthem and Blue Shield to give those consumers extra time -- though state officials pointed out some of those people could be forced to restart their coverage in the spring with no credit for paid premiums or expenses towards their deductible.
The state's health insurance exchange, Covered California, earlier insisted that those non-compliant plans need to be eliminated by Jan. 1 in order to ensure a 'level playing field' in which the state's pool of insurance consumers would be large enough to balance out the costs associated with guaranteed coverage.
"We will respond to this particular cancellation issue in a way that we think takes in all the factors and helps build the program for the future," said the governor on Tuesday.
California's decision on whether to allow some consumers to, in essence, opt out of the Affordable Care Act for 2014 will be closely watched elsewhere. The state has been the most aggressive in the nation when it comes to making the health care transition, and is home to the single largest group of uninsured Americans.