CA: Finally taking off Health Care rose colored glasses? Posted by: McQ
on Monday, January 28, 2008
Dan Walters takes us down California's memory lane to a point 40 years ago, when buoyed by rosy predictions, the state committed itself to "MediCal" in an effort to "convert care for the "medically indigent" from charity to mainstream medicine."
Medi-Cal was hastily approved with assurances from Brown that his administration could make it work well. But 40-plus years later, the state is still struggling to make Medi-Cal work properly without busting the budget. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed new budget, in fact, slashes Medi-Cal benefits and tightens up on eligibility to save money – even as he proposes an even more massive health plan for the working poor.
Yet given that experience, this new health care proposal has essentially taken the same route, and is receiving very little real examination while the rosy cost predictions it is based on, are being accepted by most. But their are those who are nervous about the budget busting potential of this new entitlement and are only now beginning to state their objections. Interestingly, those critics include liberal Democrats as well.
Lo and behold, the analyst's study and the hearings revealed that the plan's sponsors had adopted rosy scenarios about both costs and revenue that, if even slightly off, would make the plan financially unworkable. It assumes, for instance, that cigarette purchases would decline only slightly with a tripling of cigarette taxes.
The most troublesome assumption, however, is that the state could purchase insurance coverage from private insurers for $250 per person per month – scarcely half of what the largest purchaser of private insurance in the state, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, now pays. Were it to climb to just $300, the legislative analyst determined, deficits would quickly climb into the multibillion-dollar range.
Strangely, another very important issue arose only in the final minutes of the hearing – the strong possibility that imposing health care mandates on employers would be illegal under federal law – and was quickly dismissed. The prevailing attitude appears to be to enact something and hope that it can pass legal muster, a rather irresponsible approach.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Here we have a state contemplating a huge move to take over a significant portion of their economy with little examination of the probable real costs, but instead based in rosy government predictions which have proven anything but reliable in the past.
"The proposal basically says 'trust us and we will work it out,' " Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento ...
It sure does, and we all know how well that's worked in the past, don't we?
As a former resident of Los Angeles, I can only say that the state of California will make the worst possible decision. It is difficult for any reasonable person to suss out why the political class in cal is so inept. I would like to lay the blame on corrupt pols, but a corrupt pol is likely to make better decisions. He wouldn’t want to degrade his ability to bleed the public. When I moved away, I felt like a rat deserting a sinking ship. That is, glad I got out in time. If you look at the pop growth in neighboring states, it appears that all of the smart rats are leaving. I hope that the remaining people enjoy their workers paradise. My advise about the health care initiative to the state; You go girl.