ECONOMY: Almost one-third of county's working families struggling.
The study, called "Making Ends Meet in San Diego County 2010," measured local costs of housing, child care, food and other basic expenses to determine a no-frills budget for various-sized families. It did not include nonessential costs such as entertainment, cable TV, toys, life insurance or savings.
One conclusion: A single person without dependents needs a full-time job paying $13.13 an hour, or $27,700 a year, to make ends meet in San Diego County.
Much of the data was gleaned from a statewide study conducted by the United Way of the Bay Area, which shared the data locally with the Center for Policy Initiatives. The center is a nonprofit research and advocacy center dedicated to the interests of working people in the San Diego region.
"Unfortunately, the data isn't that shocking," said Shaina Gross, community impact manager with United Way of San Diego.
"It's a huge number of people who aren't making enough, but this is what we are hearing from our clients anecdotally and from the community-based organizations who serve the clients.
HHS Exempts 30 Groups from Reform Law Rule on Health Benefits Cap
Such caps set an annual limit on the amount a health plan covers, and the employee is responsible for all costs beyond the cap.
The 30 companies and groups include fast-food chains McDonald's and Jack in the Box, and the United Agricultural Benefit Trust. The groups receiving the waivers offer low-cost health plans -- often called "mini-med" plans -- to low-wage, seasonal or part-time workers. Nearly one million individuals will be affected.
Without the waivers, the companies would have had to provide at least $750,000 in coverage in 2011, up to $1.25 million in 2012, $2 million in 2013 and unlimited coverage in 2014.
California Becomes First State To Create Health Benefit Exchange
AB 1602, by Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D- Los Angeles), and SB 900, by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D- Santa Clara), will provide the foundation for the California Health Benefit Exchange. The exchange will offer a marketplace of health insurance options for individuals and small businesses, as required under the federal reform law .
Health Care’s Uneven Road to a New Era
So does this insurance plan sound like part of the solution for the country’s health care system — or part of the problem? A $2,000 plan happens to be one of the main plans that McDonald’s offers its employees. It became big news last week, when The Wall Street Journal reported that the company was worried the plan would run afoul of a provision in the new health care law. In response to the provision, McDonald’s threatened to drop the coverage altogether, until the Obama administration signaled it would grant some exemptions.
This episode was only the latest disruption that the health law seems to be causing. Also last week, the Principal Financial Group said it was getting out of the health insurance business, while other insurers have said they might stop offering certain types of coverage. With each new disruption come loud claims — some from insurance executives — that the health overhaul is damaging American health care.
On the surface, these claims can sound credible. But when you dig a little deeper, you often discover the same lesson that the McDonald’s case provides: the real problem was the status quo.
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