Friday, June 22, 2007

California Health Care Sellout

AB 8 Does for Health Care what Deregulation Did for Energy

Introduced by Assembly Member Fabian Nunez, in AB 8 we have all the hallmarks of a massive sellout to an industry that contributes heavily on both sides of the aisle. While $3.7 million in donations (2005-06 cycle) within the state of California may sound like a lot, I am once again amazed at how cheaply our legislators sell us out, mere pennies on the dollar of billions that the medical & insurance industries will reap. But sell us they do.

The current Democratic sponsored bill is not good for the people as a whole. It merely sets up a greater number of people that will be required to be covered but no control over the costs being charged for that coverage. Yes, there is a 85% requirement to be spent on medical expenses, but that can be widely manipulated. Very simply, this bill puts into law the number of customers being led to the coffers of the insurance companies and does little to protect them. It is a sellout and a sham.

Worth noting - looking at the number of 7.5% of payroll one needs to be reminded that this is of Social Security income, topping out somewhere in the neighborhood of $90k/yr, or $7000.00 in taxed "insurance premium" per wage earner per year. In my family this would be a savings over the $10,000.00 per year we are currently spending up front with Blue Cross, and everything costs more along the way. So, if lawmakers are running numbers for public acceptance, I say this 7.5% is within the realm of reality.

The GOP, of course, offers less, but at a higher price. Arnold’s $4.4 billion fees plus 4% of payroll isn’t liked by anyone, which should say something good about it, but it doesn't. There is one good reason nobody likes it – the stench of new taxes without offsetting savings elsewhere. Again the larger number of customers forced to go shopping, and little protection for them. This time add a huge fee structure that collects money only to be doled back out to the very industry that it is charged from. Once again, the GOP shows how well they can increase corporate profits at the expense of the taxpaying public and make it sound like a good thing to the deaf ear.

The simple truth is that until a single payer system is in place – meaning a government run system that negotiates with doctors, hospitals, equipment and pharmaceutical manufacturers – the public is being raked over the coals of profits in those very industries. Face it, please - we have a consortium of companies in collusion with our elected officials and we are paying too high a price. If the government could collect all the monies currently spent on health care and wrap them into one service, all could be served beautifully. As long as corporate greed is in the way, the people will suffer in both service received and payment rendered.

Call me one Democrat that is fed up with being sold out. California may lead the way in many things, but this health care bill is wrong on so many levels. Reject it, please.

And you, Fabian. Clean it up, man.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog. You might enjoy mine:

I occasionally deal with theology in my defenses of church/state separation.

7/06/2007 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me add that the proposed health plan is a disgrace. I agree completely.

It does nothing to fix the gouging costs, inefficiencies and profiteering in the system -- it merely forces people to *pay* for it.

In any other context, this would be called a racket.

7/06/2007 7:37 PM  

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