08 February 2008

ABX 1 1 Favored Insurance Industry

California State Senator Leland Y. Yee, whose constituents live in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, wrote to the San Francisco Chronicle on why he didn't support Gov. Schwarzenegger's health reform bill -- which would have forced Californians to either buy health insurance or face the loss of their homes and the garnishing of their wages.

Now it's true that already happens to people once they get sick or injured in the United States, but this would have brought it on even sooner.
This bill was not a step in the right direction, but a huge jump backward for working families who lack health care. As a co-author of the true universal health care bill, Senate Bill 840, I opposed AB X1 1 because it would have required consumers to buy their policies regardless of the cost. Under AB X1 1, all Californians would have been required to buy insurance with no caps on premiums, no regulation of the costs of insurance or medical expenses, no maximum deductibles, and no clearly defined minimum coverage...

The most objectionable part of this proposal was that if an individual did not purchase insurance within 62 days of the enactment of this flawed legislation, then the Franchise Tax Board would have been authorized to collect premiums by garnishment of wages or mortgage liens on the property of working Californians...

Such an experiment is under way in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with troubling results. Already the Commonwealth's budget is being strained by the unanticipated costs of the mandated insurance program. Over the next few years, Massachusetts lawmakers will be forced to divert hundreds of millions of dollars out of the general fund to subsidize a program that was supposed to pay for itself, taking scarce funds away from other critical programs. While this is happening, Massachusetts residents who have not or cannot comply with the mandate to buy costly insurance on the open market are being forced to pay hefty fines, further compromising their ability to meet the requirements of the law.
I hope Colorado legislators are taking note.

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