San Jose Town Hall Meeting Addresses Universal Health Care Proposals
Labor leaders, health care activists and advocates for low-income residents gathered Saturday at San Jose union hall in a "[p]art pep rally, part strategy session" to build support for a single-payer insurance plan, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Many at the meeting support a bill (SB 840), by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), that would substitute all private health insurance with a state-regulated insurance program covering California residents.
Sandy Perry -- outreach director of San Jose's Community Homeless Alliance Ministry, one of the groups sponsoring the meeting -- said, "This is the only real solution," adding, "We're trying to unite people to build momentum. People may call this 'socialized medicine,' but that's better than no medicine at all" (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 3/13).
Summaries of a recent editorial and opinion piece addressing efforts to expand health care coverage are provided below.
Contra Costa Times: Assembly members Joe Nation (D-Santa Rosa) and Keith Richman (R-Northridge) have "devised a creative" measure that would help provide health insurance to the more than 6.4 million uninsured California residents, a Contra Costa Times editorial states. The legislation "deserves close scrutiny" by the governor and the Legislature and includes many "promising cost-cutting" measures, according to the editorial. There are still "a lot of critical details to be worked out," such as tax rates on health plans and caps on tax deductions for employers offering health insurance, the editorial states, concluding that Nation and Richman have started "a process that deserves serious consideration in Sacramento" (Contra Costa Times, 3/13).
- Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times: The federal debate over health care reform "seems to be on life support," but in California "every conceivable idea to expand health coverage for the uninsured is on the table," which could "inspire action in other states and eventually encourage Washington to return to the problem," Los Angeles Times columnist Ronald Brownstein writes in his "Washington Outlook" column. According to Brownstein, California lawmakers and health care advocates have proposed a mandate on employers to provide health insurance for employees; a mandate on individuals to purchase health coverage; a single-payer state health care system that would replace all other public and private health plans; and a public-private partnership that would guarantee health coverage for all children in the state. Brownstein writes that the "best option" is probably a "consensus approach that apportions costs for universal coverage among businesses, individuals and government," although "insiders" in California "doubt all of the divergent interests involved can agree on a single plan" (Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 3/14).