Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address Uninsured, Legislation To Expand Health Care Coverage
The San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday published an editorial and four opinion pieces addressing the uninsured and efforts to expand health insurance coverage. Summaries are provided below.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) "has a chance to fulfill his campaign pledge" to guarantee that all children in California have health insurance coverage by supporting a bill (AB772) by Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland) to expand eligibility for existing state health care programs for children, a Chronicle editorial states.
Of the health care proposals under consideration by the Legislature, Chan's bill "has the best chance of passing -- mainly because it is doable, it is not outrageously expensive and because it moves the state toward a goal that both Democrats in the Legislature and the governor have already embraced," according to the editorial. "All parties should unite behind the Chan bill," the editorial states, concluding, "If there are parts they don't like, start negotiating. But just get the job done" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).
- Spyros Andreopoulos, San Francisco Chronicle: Supporting legislation to make health care coverage available to all California residents "would be good for the governor and the Republican Party, good for the Democratic Party, good for [Schwarzenegger's] constituents and good for California's economy," Spyros Andreopoulos -- director emeritus of the Office of Communication and Public Affairs at the Stanford Medical Center -- writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. Andreopoulos writes that the governor should not "automatically endorse whatever health care proposal the Legislature comes up with tomorrow," adding that Schwarzenegger needs to "convince himself that a complete overhaul of the health care system is inevitable, and the sooner we start the better" (Andreopoulos, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).
- Chan, San Francisco Chronicle: California must "reach out aggressively to families who may not realize their children are eligible for low-cost insurance programs" to help provide health care coverage to all children in California, Chan writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. Chan writes that the state also should expand eligibility for state health insurance programs and coordinate state efforts to create programs, such as a local Children's Health Initiative, to expand health insurance coverage. Chan concludes, "In a state as resourceful as ours ... surely we can become a state in which every child has access to affordable health insurance" (Chan, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).
- Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, San Francisco Chronicle: For "too many working Americans and their families the health care status quo is a real mess," Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. According to Lavizzo-Mourey, eight in 10 uninsured Americans are in working families with "modest incomes," and more than one in 10 children lack health care coverage. "There is no responsible reason for not acting," Lavizzo-Mourey writes, adding, "The main thing we are missing is leadership." Lavizzo-Mourey writes that "accepting the status quo isn't an alternative. The consequences of inaction for everyone are too serious" (Lavizzo-Mourey, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).
- Assembly members Joe Nation (D-San Rafael) and Keith Stuart Richman (R-Granada Hills), San Francisco Chronicle: "It is time for a fresh, innovative start" to addressing the issue of state residents without health insurance, Nation and Richman write in a Chronicle opinion piece. They write that state residents in November 2004 voted to repeal a measure to require some employers to provide health care coverage to employees and against measures to enact single-payer systems in 1992 and 1994. Nation and Richman write that although the "main piece" (AB 1670) of a legislative package they have introduced was defeated in committee last week, they plan to reintroduce next year a modified version of the bill that would require all California residents to maintain health insurance coverage. They conclude that their proposal will "strengthen the existing employer-sponsored health care framework, with great individual responsibility and government support, to ensure affordable access to health care for all: universal health care through universal responsibility" (Nation/Richman, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).