04 January 2007

Kevin Drum's How To

Kevin Drum and Ezra Klein are as far as I know the two progressive, generalist bloggers best educated about health care issues, how our system performs, and how health care systems work in other developed countries.

Drum today links to a LA Times article describing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's soon-to-be-announced plan to insure all California children, whether they're legal immigrants or not.

A key element: "Administration officials have privately told people outside government that they intend to guarantee medical coverage for children of families earning up to 300% of the poverty level, or $60,000 a year for a family of four. Those families have 90% of the children without insurance. But the cutoff is not yet set in stone.

"Schwarzenegger's proposal goes further than one put forward last month by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland). His plan excluded illegal immigrants. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) incorporated children of undocumented residents into his plan, which also was announced in December."

..."'It's the low-hanging fruit of the healthcare reform debate,' said Dr. Bob Ross, president of the California Endowment, a private foundation in Los Angeles that was created to push for expanded access to healthcare.

"'Kids are relatively cheaper to cover' than adults, he said. 'From a public health standpoint, it's smarter to cover all children regardless of immigration. You just don't want unimmunized kids surfing around in the population.'"

Drum makes the point that with two Republican stars, Mitt Romney in Massachusetts AND Schwarzenegger in California, pushing to insure ALL children, that Democrats have little excuse in continued timidity on this issue. He posits that "(a) universal healthcare is no longer some lefty fringe notion, and (b) the plans from Schwarzenegger and Massachusetts' Mitt Romney are now the starting point for any serious healthcare proposal."

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