13 January 2008

CA single-payer urges support for ABX 1 1

Stephen Schear gives a paragraph of his credentials as a single-payer supporter before urging Californians to reconsider and support the Schwartzenegger mandate plan, ABX1 1. (Why the name that sounds like a Reagan era star wars weapon?) His credentials are good. His support of ABX1 1 is unconvincing.

Schear's reasoning is that the Schwartzenegger plan will ease the transition to single-payer.
"Repeated polling, focus groups and experience have demonstrated that fear is the emotion that keeps most voters from supporting proposals for universal health care, including single payer."
Schear thinks that somehow forcing more people into private insurance will make them less afraid of single-payer, and ease the way to its eventual enactment. I read this article wanting to see his point — but it's not congealing. He writes:
"...The mandate for private health insurance is relatively meaningless, especially since ABX1 1 includes a provision that people can be excused from the mandate if buying health insurance would constitute a financial hardship. The government is not going to prosecute individuals for a lack of health insurance. The other “problems” with ABx1 1 are only problems if you compare ABX1 1 with single payer. Although there is not much in the way of cost control in ABX1 1, at least it requires insurers to spend 85% of their premiums on health care, a small advance in limiting private insurance waste. ABX1 1 will not achieve universal coverage, but it expands coverage far more than any legislation since Congress passed Medicaid and Medicare in 1965."
How can a mandate, further strengthening the key malignant element in our system, be meaningless?

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