Health Care in San Jose Area Likely To Experience ‘Dramatic Change,’ Mercury News Columnist Writes
Given the demise of San Jose-based health insurer Lifeguard and San Jose/Good Samaritan Medical Group, the city's largest physician group, "There's a lot to be afraid of when you survey Silicon Valley's health care landscape," San Jose Mercury News columnist Peter Delevett writes. As health care costs increase and smaller health providers and insurers are "drummed out of the market," the region is "headed toward a dramatic change" in which consumers will be responsible for more health costs, Delevett writes. He notes that while San Jose's cost of living is high, the cost of health coverage in the region is still 20% to 30% lower compared to the East Coast. Legislation such as a bill signed recently by Gov. Gray Davis (D) that forces HMOs to cover more drugs and pre-existing conditions will likely improve health care, but the added costs "will be passed on" to consumers, Delevett writes. He quotes Walter Zellman, president of the California Association of Health Plans, who said, "We keep demanding more than what we're willing to pay for." Delevett predicts that "health care may well move away from being a benefit provided by employers and toward being a benefit that employers merely help pay for" (Delevett, San Jose Mercury News, 9/25).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.