Covered CA Day 2: Should Lawmakers Sign Up?

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SACRAMENTO—

$410 a month. A 91% increase for the next closest plan. Letters like this are hitting mailboxes as the Affordable Care Act rolls out, leaving some to wonder if “affordable” should really be in the name.

“I feel dumbfounded. I really don’t understand why I should be paying that much,” said Kai Siddiqui.

Siddiqui is a young, single professional. He’s a realtor, he’s self-employed – and managed to grow his business out of the recession. But now he says even if he took less healthcare, he’d be paying more for it.

“I’m right on the border so I don’t qualify for a subsidy. And the thing with exchanges: I’d still be paying more than I’m paying right now,” Siddiqui said.

And the healthcare exchanges are untested territory. So much so that no one California state assemblyman is proposing to make it mandatory that all state legislators use them. We caught up with Brian Nestande at his district office in Palm Desert.

“We should be feeling the effects of this law same [as] anybody else because I don’t think it’s going to go well. I think there’s going to be a lot of unintended consequences and we should know about that first-hand,” Nestande said.

Nestande will be introducing his bill when the Assembly reconvenes in January to have state legislators use Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, to buy their own insurance.

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