Health Advisers Could Fend Off Criticism of Governor’s Reforms
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) health care reform proposal was built on input from a wide range of stakeholders in California's health care system and was compiled by an eclectic group of aides, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Kim Belshé and Daniel Zingale, chief of staff to first lady Maria Shriver and the director of the Department of Managed Health Care under former Gov. Gray Davis (D), led the team. Other members' backgrounds included stints working for business groups, medical associations, insurers, unions and patient-advocacy groups.
Belshé said the governor in early 2006 indicated to his staff an interest in fixing the health care system. As the team worked on the plan, they sought feedback from a variety of interests, including critics such as the California Medical Association and the California Chamber of Commerce.
The team also reviewed past health care proposals and similar plans in other states such as Massachusetts (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 2/6).
"Though well intentioned," Schwarzenegger's proposal and similar plans "are not only illegal, they are placebos," Lee Igel, a New York University professor, writes in a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal. "So long as we continue to deny the reality of health care as it is today, we will continue to be sickened by the disease of expecting government to take care of our needs and responsibilities," Igel writes. "To cure the ills of the health care system, reform must filter up from the people who actually use it," Igel concludes (Igel, Wall Street Journal, 2/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.