“Thinking Small” on California Health Reform? Not Small Enough!

“Thinking Small” on California Health Reform? Not Small Enough!

Using a very appropriate headline, the features editor of the California Healthline points out that California’s “health reformers try again on a smaller scale”. Unfortunately, they are not trying small enough.

Although the Schwarzenegger-Nuñez Health Care Deforminator Model ABX1_1 failed in the Senate health committe last month, after a year of intense cheerleading, two (or maybe three) bad elements of the plan have been picked off the dead automaton, and chucked into the new legislative session:

  1. Anti-tobacco activists have filed a stand-alone tobacco tax initiative for November’s ballot. A tobacco tax hike was a key element of ABX1_1, and previous reforms, and I have criticised its effects.
  2. State Senator Sheila Kuehl (who killed ABX1_1 in committee because she has dug in her heels in favor of the even worse SB-840, a single-payer, government health monopoly bill), has introduced SB-1440, which would require health plans to spend at least 85 percent of premiums on medical costs – a proposal that threatens to reduce the number of competitors in California health insurance by half, as I wrote in my paper.
  3. Although this was not precisely in the proposal, Assemblyman Jared Huffman wants to cram all health insurance polices into 5 basic plans, in order to make them easier to understand (like only having five types of fruit, or five types of automobiles, I guess). (Although “5” was not precisely in ABX1_1, defining the types of policies offered would have been the role of one of the new bureaucracies established by ABX1_1.)

And I was certain that I send all these folks copies of my analysis! California’s Health Care Deforminator Model ABX1_1 – you just can’t keep a bad reform down, I guess.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.