Health Care Issues Dominate State’s Economic Activity, Opinion Piece Says
The "long-running saga of health care politics" has become a "preoccupation of the Capitol's inhabitants," encompassing a large component of the state's economic activity, Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters writes in an opinion piece. As evidence of the extent to which health care issues are "essentially divvying up the tens of billions of dollars in public and private money," Walters cites:
- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) efforts to reform the state workers' compensation insurance system, which "was, in part, a struggle over the share that health care providers could extract from the system";
- Debate over how best to resolve "the state's chronic budget deficit" to which the rising cost of providing health care to the uninsured has contributed; and
- A multi-million dollar campaign on a referendum included on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot to repeal a law (SB 2) requiring some employers to provide health insurance to workers or pay into a state fund to provide such coverage.
Walters also cites as examples of health care issues' influence over the state's political agenda the "emergence of managed care as a dominant factor in health services," state regulation of a proposed merger between health insurers Anthem and WellPoint and legislation addressing the "scope of practice" of certain medical specialists -- including plastic and oral surgeons, ophthalmologists and optometrists, and psychiatrists and psychologists (Walters, Sacramento Bee, 6/9).
Additional information on SB 2 is available online. 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.