California’s New HMO Regulations

There are standards that a single-payer plan could not hope to achieve. Indeed, California’s current government-run health plans can’t achieve them.

The new regulations are a result of years of negotiations between HMOs, the government, and self-styled “consumer advocates”, who lobby for laws and regulation friendly to trial lawyers. Indeed, Anthony Wright, ED of Health Access California, the “statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition” is actually listed on the DMHC’s press release as “sponsor of the original 2002 law.” (Can you imagine the outrage if Pfizer or Eli Lilly were listed on a government press release as “sponsor” of a law concerning prescription drugs?) According to Cindy Ehnes, Director of the DMHC, “Californians are literally sick of having to wait weeks to see a doctor.”

Well, I’m sure they are. But what of the poor Califorians enrolled in Medi-Cal, our Medicaid program? Only 11 percent of cardiologists in Los Angeles accepted Medicaid patients, and the highest accepting specialty was dermatologists: 58 percent.

Lengthy waits for medical services, as doled out by government bureaucrats, are characteristic of so-called “universal” health care. In my home country of Canada, we don’t measure waiting times in days, but in months – over four months, to be precise, according to The Fraser Institute’s 2009 annual survey of waiting lists for twelve specialties in each of Canada’s ten provinces.

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