California

This article is part of the State Status and News series related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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“This is baby taking its first steps,” said Dr. Dev GnanaDev, past president of the California Medical Association. “We've got decades to go before we can say that we have health care reform.”

GnanaDev, who also is medical director at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, said he expects lawmakers will tweak the legislation as program rollouts reveal flaws.

“The biggest winners are those who cannot get insurance because of pre-existing conditions,” he said. “The losers will be the people who pay more in taxes.”

Other bill downsides include the requirement for everyone to be covered or risk paying 2.5 percent of their annual income, fines for large employers who provide skimpy or no coverage, and a strain that's expected to target primary care doctors hit with millions of patients who had been uninsured.

As currently enacted, the legislation, expected to cost about $940 billion, would provide coverage to an estimated 32 million uninsured Americans – including more than half a million in Inland Southern California.

Some in the Inland area will reap the benefits almost immediately, while others are still assessing how it will improve or hurt their health care coverage.

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Hines, Lora; Goad, Ben. “Landmark health care bill takes first steps”. Press-Enterprise. April 10, 2010. Available online as of 2010-04-13.