California May Offer Test Case for National Health Care Program

The New York Times
Los Angeles, California January 8, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/09/us/09calif.html?th&emc=thn

California Plan for Health Care Would Cover All
“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday proposed extending health care coverage to all of California’s 36 million residents as part of a sweeping package of changes to the state’s huge, troubled health care system.”

Several of my readers and I debated the Medicare and Medicaid federal health care programs. I maintain that the plans, especially Medicare, were poorly planned when begun in 1965 as part of Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society War on Poverty. Several of my readers pointed out the programs of other countries which they felt were successful. And I agreed that they were apparently accepted in their respective countries but would not be acceptable to Americans.

Three states have already initiated universal health care plans: Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont. All are extremely high tax states, and all in my opinion are really too small to be good test cases for a federal program to pattern itself after. California on the other hand is large enough and with the diverse population to present itself as a test case. This should be so interesting!

Already the battles have begun with everyone and certainly every group involved weighting in with their cries of , “Hey! Not me! Sure I want full medical coverage for myself and my family BUT I DON”T WANT TO HAVE TO PAY FOR ANY OF IT!” “Make those rich guys pay for it! Make the bloated corporations pay for it! Get the federal government and the tax payers in the rest of the country to pay for our health care!”

And the biggest gripe you will hear is, “Why are the damned illegal aliens allowed to be on the plan? (These same illegal aliens who pick the California fruits and vegetables and without whom the state wouldn’t have this highly profitable and large part of it’s economy. The taxes from this segment of the economy will of course provide the big bucks needed for the program, but why should those who make it possible be covered by a universal medical plan.)

Anyhow, we all feel more has to be done about health care in this country and more has to be done to get the double digit medical inflation stopped, or at least slowed down a bit, so watching California solve the problems will certainly help the federal government either to forge a new program for all of us, or make changes to the programs we now have.

By the way, do make sure to also read the article on the federal government’s announcement that health care spending in 2005 showed the slowest growth in six years. (Health section)

Comments

I Don't Believe California Can Do It

More to the point, I don't believe any individual state can do it.
I don't trust that Arnold's people haven't set this up as a straw man, but clearly all any clear-headed business owner already dealing with California's anti-business mindset would need to do would be to move a few hundred miles east to Arizona or Nevada. This dog won't hunt.
Universal healthcare has to be organized on a national level. There are a number of reasonably successful models including, I believe, Medicare and Tricare.
The healthcare delivery system will work regardless of the payer system so long as they are reliably and fairly paid. Technology is going to cost regardless of the payer system.
The variable is the health insurance industry which will go on at great length about losing choice and restricted care. We would do well to remember that at the end of the day the insurance companies are in the business of finance and not healthcare. For less than we are paying now we could provide basic coverage for every man, woman and child in America. We could probably include a real pharmacy benefit while we were at it.
I don't think the insurance industry is going to let it pass anyway, but Universal healthcare won't work on a state level.

im glad

Plans like the one in Mass are "too small" for the national government to follow. They are bad plans that are no where close to universal health care. They are effectively the same as North Carolina's law that you have to have insurance to drive.

By the way, I have nothing against that law, but its difficult to see how requiring everyone to buy private insurance or pay some stupid amount of money is going to fix the problem.

Eh, at least we are talking about Universal Health Care without everyone who supports having a healthy population being called a communist.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Massachusetts' "plan":

Hey, folks, you've all got to be insured. But we're not going to help you pay for it. Have fun!

You're right, this is exactly what the right-wing wants.

they take a crappy plan, slap "universal health care" on it, and sell it to the people. When it fails, they get to point to it and say "See! Socialized medicine doesn't work, what we need is a free market system with no interstate regulation!"
Mark my words.



One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it.
- Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Yes! This is what it is

Yes! This is what it is going to take, people talking and thinking out of the box. I haven't yet studied the California plan beyond the little in the news so can not really talk about the plan itself. My point was the population numbers and the diversity of the population would give some clues as to what a federal program would run into and how these pitfalls might be avoided and good points in the program extended.
Unfortunately the first problems have already shown themselves as I stated in my post, and the program isn't even out of the gate yet. Darn!
Strange that you should mention the two health care plans that I have been under for years as being successful. Medicare and Tricare are both government programs of course. The difference is that Tricare does negotiate fees with doctors more stringently and insists that patients used only Tricare approved doctors when available. If they must see other civilian doctors they have to pay the excess charges over and above what Tricare pays. Tricare overall is working well because the vast majority of those eligible are using military facilities, military doctors who are paid a salary and drugs/medical supplies purchased in mass.
My problem with Medicare is not how well it works for the Patient because from my one years experience it works very well. My problem is that it is too heavy a burden on the young and should be means tested. Those who can afford their own insurance plans should not be on Medicare at all. Or the government should only financially help them purchase their own plans. Again this to be means tested.
There are simply too many well off older Americans on the dole. My husband and I are two of them. We can afford our own medical insurance but because of the way things are going and our great grandchildren are now in hock we are putting the money instead into a trust fund for our grandchildren because they will surely need it as the population ages. BB

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Pretty much says it all

There are simply too many well off older Americans on the dole. My husband and I are two of them. We can afford our own medical insurance but because of the way things are going and our great grandchildren are now in hock we are putting the money instead into a trust fund for our grandchildren because they will surely need it as the population ages.

No comment.

Anglico, I don't understand

Anglico, I don't understand what you mean by the above quote/comment. Would you be so kind as to explain? I know why I made the statement, and I know exactly what I mean and what I am trying to illustrate, but your comment says nothing, other than perhaps being snide. BB

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Not snide at all

Simply an observation about the intractable challenges we face. You say you and your husband can afford to take care of yourself, but you don't. You let the government do it because you want to redirect your resources to your grandchildren.

My comment isn't a condemnation of you. I'm simply pointing out the nature of the dilemmas we face as a culture. Each of us has his or her own thresholds for drawing the lines between entitlement, personal responsibility, giving back and doing our part.

Republicans like Fred Smith (a likely candidate for governor) go to great lengths to deride government waste, while making millions of dollars winning and exploiting government contracts for highway construction.

I see stuff like this every day in higher education. Affluent families scrambling for available scholarships to get a break on tuition when poorer families can't even scrape together the money to get in the door.

You lean toward the conservative side of the political spectrum, which I assume is in the direction of personal responsibility, and yet you take advantage of government "hand-outs."

Yes, BUT and that is a big

Yes, BUT and that is a big but, I am now and have been for years badgering for a means based aid program (s). I will be the very first to burn my Medicare card when it is made a national law that all of us "users and abusers" must. You notice I call myself a User and Abuser because that is what I and my husband and millions of others like us are. I feel strongly however that since the system is not about to change our drop in the bucket if we in protest give up any legal, but unethical, benefits won't do a thing to change the system. The few bucks we can put in our grandchildren’s trust may just help them avoid poverty when the final bills start coming due.

In the meantime I will continue as I have since before the Medicare Law was passed and shout, beg and cry for some sanity and responsibility in this and all government programs. We as a nation MUST care for our needy of all ages and provide help with all of their needs. We as decent human beings MUST accept our responsibility to care for ourselves and thank God for allowing us the capability.

I feel wronged in being compared to people like Fred Smith since we are not in anyway benefiting from what we are doing. We do not use one cent for ourselves. We are trying to look out for our own children whom we see as being reduced to poverty if something isn't done to correct this and other programs that benefit the well off more than they benefit the needy. Mr. Smith is benefiting from his greed and his posterity will certainly have no need for all that he is managing to accumulate. Making money for the sake of it, well, really how much is enough? BB

I have never understood why when I call for justice and sanity with these programs I am said to be a conservative. I feel, and have always felt that if anything I am a raving liberal. BB

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If you want to fight poverty.

Then you really should be backing a single-payer health care system. Over 50% of bankruptices in North Carolina came from health related causes and a majority of those people had private "health insurance" when they became ill or injured.

About 78 percent of people without health insurance have at least one full-time worker in the household. Half of uninsured people either work for a business with fewer than 25 employees or have a family member who does.

We, as a nation pay more per capita for health insurance than any other country in the world. For 67% of what we pay per capita, many countries have universal health care, we leave 46 million uninsured.

Yet, almost 66% of our health costs are already paid through public funds. Thus, if we eliminate "private" insurance and expand Medicare to cover everyone, we could have universal health care for all, now.

That would eliminate the massive bankruptices, which would eliminate those who go into poverty because of that.



One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it.
- Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I understand what you are

I understand what you are saying Robert P. It is just that in 1964-65 I didn't, as I said above, approve of Medicare taking on paying All elderly people’s medical costs and I haven't seen anything to change my mind over the years.
In the first place if Medicare would have been like Medicaid and provided for only the elderly needy, or means based, there would not have been this huge pool of virtually unencumbered government (tax payers) money to greedily grab. The Pandora’s box we opened got us an unholy alliance of doctors, medical facilities, insurance companies and medical supplies/drugs companies all with arms wild open to grab up these dollars. And thus driving up the costs of health care at double digit for all these years. The competition of the open market would have been holding costs down as it has for other commodities.
Secondly:
When a person erroneously believes that he isn’t paying for a service there is a tendency to over use the service. A case in point, my son-in-law pulling down $80,ooo+ a year with a great employer paid for plan sprained his ankle. He ran to the doctor who could only tell him to stay off of the foot for a week or so and write him a prescription for pain killers where simple aspirin would have done as well. All this expense for something that was totally unwarranted, but because he felt it was “free” he has become accustomed as has his entire generation to running to the doctor for a splinter. Stupid and human.

Before I could go for fully paid Universal Health Care I would want to see the plan and see that there were sufficient safe guards that weren’t then and haven’t yet been put into any government plan (exception the military Tricare). These safe guards would call for competition between doctors, health care facilities, insurance and medical companies to provide the best service for the most reasonable costs. Next there would be government owned and operated clinics for All first response medical needs with the exception of emergencies. By owned and operated the doctors would be salaried employees just as all the rest of the personnel. There would be a wider use of nurse practitioners to take care of splinters and sprained ankles and other nonsense that an aspirin and band aid would take care of.
These are just a few, but I’m sure you get the idea. We made a bad mistake in the 1960’s and we should have learned from it.

Lord knows I want above all that children be given the best most advanced medical care of all but at the same time I don’t want to put the burden of the cost of current needs and wants on generations into the future as has been our method of operation for the past 30+ years. Remember the deficit and that the first balanced budget since 1969 was `1997-2000. (We can not blame the Iraqi war for the deficit spending from 1969-1997 and neither can we blame the cold war because it had been going on since 1945. The one point of difference was added in 1965 with the mistake of Universal Health Care for the Elderly with no safeguards.)

And, all of you: thank you for coming by. We all need more, and more in-depth, discussions about our country’s needs. The internet and blogs have given us the opportunity to share ideas with masses of people for the first time in history. Surely with this ability the best minds and best ideas can come forth. Sincerely, BB

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME. THANK YOU FOR VISITING. BRENDA BOWERS

This isn't 1967.



One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it.
- Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Robert P. it is said that

Robert P. it is said that those who refuse to heed the lessons learned from past mistakes are bound to repeat the same mistakes. Surely there are enough new and improved mistakes out there to be made rather than follow the same old worn path. Don'tcha think? BB

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME. THANK YOU FOR VISITING. BRENDA BOWERS