30 January 2008

California Mandate Plan Goes Down

It was good news regarding ABX1 going down in California. Here's from the LA Times:
Senators said it was too risky a financial commitment when California faces a $14.5-billion budget gap that could force them to cut existing healthcare programs. Schwarzenegger has proposed $2.9 billion in healthcare cuts over the next 18 months.

"It doesn't matter if there are these good things in the bill if there isn't the money to pay for them," said Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), who chairs the health panel and has proposed that the state take over the role of providing medical insurance. "We can't simply say to the people of California, 'Go buy insurance.' "

The defeat may be a poor omen for national efforts to overhaul the country's healthcare system. The three leading Democratic presidential candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards -- all have proposed similar programs aimed at expanding private insurance while allowing people who have coverage they like to keep it.
The NYT also had a story on this, with this great quote:
“I just came to the conclusion that the working people are going to end up paying for it,” said Senator Leland Yee, Democrat of San Francisco, who announced his opposition before a committee meeting last Wednesday. “There’s control for everybody else — the employers are protected and the insurance industry. The only group that’s vulnerable is the working people.”
I understand that good people believe that mandates can work. Good, smart people, in fact, who've been at this far longer than I have. But that's part of the problem. These good folks are still shell shocked from the last battle. We can't fight the last war. Conditions are different now. More people have been hurt, the insurance industry has very little credibility. It may well be that we have to do this incrementally. But forcing people to buy private health insurance policies from for-profit companies is a deal killer.

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