Healthcare Battle Heating Up

As the legislative season starts to get into full gear and the healthcare debate takes front-and-center, it’s time to gear up for a huge public outcry against the Governor’s unabashed pro-insurance industry bias. While he cavorts around the country as the Pretender- in- Chief in the battle against global warming, the battle to provide affordable, quality healthcare in California is warming up as well.
Several attempts to address the healthcare crisis have been offered up by both parties over the past few legislative sessions. While modest healthcare reform has long been on the agenda , we’ve really just attacked its inefficiencies and inequities on the fringes. Now is the time to truly reform and revamp the system. The real question is how are we going to do it?
Senator Sheila Kuehl has been fighting to create the single-payor Medicare-type system for several years. And all the data seems to support this concept—take the insurance industry out of the game because they offer little or nothing to the process. The basic principle is fairly simple: The cost of the insurance industry administering the system is totally out-of-line and unnecessary. If we replace their greedy profit and excessive overhead with a single administrator, health care providers will be able to thrive without the burden of insurance companies demanding anywhere from 25-50% of each insurance premium dollar being paid ,ostensibly, for health care.
But this governor is beholden to the insurance industry for millions of dollars in contributions and simply refuses to recognize we can do better for less if we remove this parasitic industry from the equation. In order to make some of the changes that must be made now, we’ve seen several compromise proposals come into play. One of these important and necessary fixes comes in the form of AB 1554 by Assemblymember Dave Jones of Sacramento. While this measure doesn’t solve the problem, it does force the insurance industry to justify its profits and costs before being able to raise its rates, a process that has gone uncontrolled for far too long, thus allowing this industry to increase costs—and its enormous profits to the point that many Californians simply cannot afford insurance, period.
Prior to Jones introducting this measure, other legislators had tried to bring up similar measures, without success. AB 1554 starts up its hill on Tuesday, April 17th with its first policy hearing in the Assembly Health Committee. We urge you to go to our
on our site and send a letter to the members of that committee urging that they support this bill. If the Governor is going to insist on keeping the insurance industry in the game, let’s at least make sure that their rates can’t be raised just because they can…… For an example of the kind of fiasco lack of oversight can cause, look at the cost of gasoline and the profits these scoundrels are reaping because we refuse to place any kind of ceiling on unjustifiable greed.
When so many of our people go uninsured, the system itself becomes overloaded with non-paying patients. As a society we appropriately refuse to turn the neediest of these away and thus our hospitals become burdened, inefficient and overworked. Then society suffers—but not the insurance industry. As a community, this is just unacceptable.
It’s clear the Governor thinks business is more important than people, so he’s willing to sacrifice Californians on the altar of profit. And yet his popularity soars. So we have to start somewhere, incrementally, to put people first. There is no better place to start reasserting our values than when it comes to healthcare. The time is now.