San Joaquin Valley Leaders, Lawmakers Conclude There Are No Simple Solutions To Fix State Health Care System
Assembly members Keith Richman (R-Northridge) and Joe Nation (D-San Rafael) said that the information received at a conference held by RAND and the Communications Institute at Fresno State University on Thursday could help them draft legislation to reform the state's health care system, the Fresno Bee reports.
At the conference -- which was the second of five being held throughout the state -- RAND researchers outlined such health care problems as double-digit increases in prescription drug prices, rising health insurance premiums and state health care expenditures that rival the spending of some nations. The conference was attended by about 150 health care officials and providers from the San Joaquin Valley.
Participants said potential legislation should include higher reimbursements to providers who accept Medi-Cal patients and a plan for providing universal coverage for uninsured state residents.
Richman and Nation said that passing a bipartisan health care bill would be challenging because many Republicans oppose increasing taxes and fees and Democrats oppose spending cuts.
Nation added that the Valley's high unemployment rate, agricultural-based economy and large, diverse population could make health reform difficult. "I think we need to be more attuned to those issues when we think about a health care system for California," he said.
Tim Curley, regional vice president of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, said Richman and Nation's efforts are "a good first step" in solving California's health care problems (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 11/19).