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California officials say bring on health insurance overhaul

LOS ANGELES — California was among the nation's first states to boldly endorse President Obama's federal health care law after it was adopted three years ago, and on Thursday relieved officials were among those breathing the loudest sigh of relief when the Supreme Court declined to strike it down.

The decision, health and insurance officials say, perfectly positions the state to add some 6 million residents to the ranks of the insured by the federal Affordable Care Act's 2014 deadline and, while there are some lingering questions about how to find and pay doctors to treat all of them, they expressed confidence that those details will be worked out with, among other things, billions of dollars in federal money.

"The passage of the Affordable Care Act is one of the most significant legislative achievements of the last 40 years," said state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

Had the court's 5-4 decision gone the other way, Jones said, provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act that Califonria had already enacted could have been wiped out, including those allowing people to keep their children on their insurance policies until age 26 and the elimination of caps on how much money insurers must pay for medical care over the course of a person's lifetime.

The age 26 requirement currently benefits 350,000 young Californians, Jones said, while the elimination of caps benefits all 12 million insured Californians and has saved many peoples lives already by allowing them to continue to seek treatment for potentially fatal conditions. .

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