17 September 2007

California Dems cave

Don McCanne has a good column at the California Progress Report on the foolishness of turning in your best cards before you even sit down at the negotiating table. In A Nunez-Schwarzenegger Compromise or Single Payer for California?, he writes,
in a classic example of political irony, Democrats are abandoning their preferred option, single payer reform, in order to reach a compromise with the Republicans and the private insurance industry. They have crafted a model that they believe does not repeat the mistake of the Massachusetts reform program. California Democrats proudly proclaim that they will not require individuals who cannot afford private insurance to be covered by a program that is being inappropriately characterized as universal.
It's sad stuff, in part because it's exactly the same — as 1993. It's like Groundhog Day for healthcare reform.
Not one Republican voted for this compromise, and Blue Cross of California is spending a couple million dollars in an advertising campaign opposing reform. So much for compromise. The Democrats have violated the first rule of negotiation. Before they even seriously sit down with the governor, they have removed from the table the most important polices that would bring comprehensive, affordable, high quality care to everyone.
McCanne notes that underinsurance is the fastest growing problem in U.S. healthcare. It's key in a brilliantly crafted scheme that the health insurance industry has put together. See, you don't usually know you're underinsured until you need your insurance. That happens to less than 10 percent of the insured in any given year. And so most people can be convinced that it was their own foolishness or bad luck, not part of a carefully designed plan in which their health is nothing more than collateral damage in the quest to create wealth for others.

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