Ventura County Groups Grade Health Care Reform Measures
Sen. Sheila Kuehl's (D-Los Angeles) bill (SB 840) to create a state-run, single-payer health care system in California received the highest marks of the three legislative health care reform proposals graded by a coalition in Ventura County that supports an overhaul to California's health care system, the Ventura County Star reports.
Kuehl's single-payer legislation received an average of A-minus from the Ventura County Healthcare Coalition, while health care reform proposals by Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles) (AB 8) and Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) (SB 48) received an average grade of C.
The coalition will not grade a health care overhaul plan by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) unless it is offered as legislation.
The coalition includes:
- The Ventura County Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice;
- An arm of the United Food and Commercial Workers; and
- The Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy.
The coalition supports health care coverage for all residents, affordable coverage and timely access to care.
Members at the rally issued grades to three health care reform bills making their way through the Legislature (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 6/13).
Timm Herdt in his Ventura County Star column highlights a health care reform speech that Peter Lee, CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health, gave in Sacramento this week. In the speech, Lee called for:
- Encouraging the use of electronic health records;
- Allowing nurse practitioners, physician assistants and registered nurses to handle routine visits in retail clinics;
- Rewarding providers who coach patients on preventive care and the patients who practice it; and
- Increasing access to care (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 6/13).
A summary of opinion pieces and an editorial regarding health care reform in California appear below.
- Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee: Citing a recent federal court decision about a Maryland law, Walters writes that "state-level 'pay or play' schemes such as those being proposed in California are likely illegal" because they would violate the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act. "Ultimately, all of the promises and hoopla expanding health care could be merely that -- and something of a cruel joke on those whose hopes for coverage have been raised," according to Walters (Walters, Sacramento Bee, 6/13).
- Sacramento Bee: "While legislative leaders and the governor negotiate on the big question of expanding access to insurance, it would be great if some rank-and-file lawmakers spent the time to develop a comprehensive, credible plan to contain costs," a Bee editorial states. "That way, whatever program to expand access is approved might actually have a chance of succeeding," the editorial concludes (Sacramento Bee, 6/13).