Stakeholders Weigh In on California Health Reform
Health care stakeholders in California faced off on opinion pages about a compromise health care reform plan negotiated by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R).
The Assembly approved the bill last month, and the Senate Health Committee is expected to vote on the bill today (California Healthline, 1/24).
Summaries appear below.
- Núñez, Los Angeles Times: "What the opponents of ABX1 1 need to do is tell us all exactly what they propose, whether it's single-payer or something else," Núñez writes in a Times opinion piece. "Without real answers, ... opposition to AB X1 1 effectively translates into support for letting our broken system get even worse," Núñez writes, adding, "Anyone willing to leave 3.6 million uninsured Californians behind, including 800,000 children, has the duty to provide the details of their achievable alternative" (Núñez, Los Angeles Times, 1/28).
- Rose Ann DeMoro, Sacramento Bee: Because the health care reform bill's authors did not include "meaningful cost controls" on the health insurance industry, "it is highly likely that the grand promises of this bill will end up in the shape of unaffordable, junk insurance plans," DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, writes in a Bee opinion piece. As an alternative, DeMoro says lawmakers should "[a]dopt the fee on hospitals and higher Medi-Cal reimbursements proposed in ABX1 1, and use it to expand coverage for children" (DeMoro, Sacramento Bee, 1/28).
- Judy Dugan and Jamie Court, Sacramento Bee: In "order to satisfy the demands of the medical lobby, the bill has been larded with out-of-control costs that the state will force upon every Californian if mandatory insurance is part of the package," Dugan, research director of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, and Court, president of FTCR, write in a Bee opinion piece.
- Daniel Weintraub, Sacramento Bee: If the overhaul plan becomes law, "it almost certainly won't work precisely the way its sponsors envision," Weintraub writes in his Bee column. "It would probably have to be fixed with significant changes after it took effect and policymakers had a chance to evaluate how it was working," according to Weintraub (Weintraub, Sacramento Bee, 1/27).
The Senate Health Committee "should approve" the bill "when it comes to a vote today" because the measure "would help millions of Californians in great need and would still allow the state to backtrack if the experiment doesn't work," a Times editorial states. "No health care legislation will be perfect," but at "the very least, passing ABX1 1 would commit our elected leaders to keeping the discussion going," according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 1/28).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.