Imagine if a private health plan, Blue Cross or Blue Shield, for example, issued a news release like this:
“Due to our deficit, our health plan will no longer cover optometry, dentistry, podiatry, or psychology.”
You would go ballistic! Indeed, you’d probably sue, especially if these services were mandated by your state law or you hadn’t accepted limits to coverage when you accepted the policy. You might ask, if your plan was intending to reduce coverage, by how much it was going to reduce the premium?
But not in this case. The situation described above is not one faced by Blue Cross or Blue Shield. (Indeed, the law requires them to have reserves, like any insurance company, in case of losses. Think of that when you hear people complaining about health plans’ “profits”.)
These cutbacks in services covered are proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger to Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. And they are accommpanied not by premium reductions, but by a tax hike!
I’ve scribbled about this before, and I’m sure that I will again. As long as we let the state control health care for our most vulnerable residents, it will keep letting them down.