Sacramento Bee Urges State Action to Aid the ‘Uninsurable’
Noting that the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program, California's program for those considered "uninsurable" under traditional health plans, "has never been funded adequately," the Sacramento Bee advocates a "universal system in which ... everybody broadly and progressively share[s] the higher costs of covering the sick." Only 18,257 of the estimated 125,000 Californians who are eligible for MRMIP are covered by the program and an additional 6,000 people are on a waiting list. The editorial notes that the current "fractured" system has incentives to "push the costs" of covering the uninsurable "onto someone else." While Gov. Gray Davis (D) "wants to shift the onus to the insurance industry," the editorial says that health plans "regard covering the uninsurable as a public responsibility and a duty in which doctors, hospitals and drug companies should share." Calling for the Legislature to break the "impasse," the editorial notes that a "number of proposals are on the table," including Assembly member Helen Thomson's (D-Davis) bill (AB 1147) to move MRMIP beneficiaries into CalPERS, the state's largest "pool of insured people." While there are "weeks of negotiating and wrangling ahead," the editorial concludes, "[N]egotiators must keep one thing in focus: In a state as rich as California, it's a disgrace that more and more people with chronic illnesses face financial ruin because they are turned away for health insurance" (Sacramento Bee, 3/11).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.