“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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.