LOS ANGELESAffordability should be a key component of any meaningful healthcare reform because middle-class families are already struggling to meet basic healthcare expenses, said a report by the University of California at Los Angeles and the California Budget Project, issued last week. A California family of four needs an annual income of $61,950 just to afford typical healthcare costs, such as premiums and copayments, the report found. The typical two-parent, insured family of four spends nearly $1,800 on annual premiums and $1,000 in out-of-pocket costs while a single adult spends $800 on premiums and $350 on out-of-pocket costs a year, according to the survey. A family of four earning twice the federal poverty rate, which would be $41,300 in 2007, has few or no resources for health costs after budgeting in food, housing and other basic necessities. Many families have far higher out-of-pocket costs, the report noted. People should be able to afford to use, not simply buy, healthcare coverage, Dylan Roby,
co-author of the report and a research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said in a written statement. The California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are considering various proposals on how to extend health coverage to the states 6.5 million uninsured, including requiring everyone to buy insurance and making businesses provide coverage to their workers.