Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What Do YOU Think We Should Do About Health Care?

Apparently this week, Democratic legislators in Sacramento have a new health care proposal for Arnold to consider. Apparently this new proposal, AB X1 1, would use a combination of an individual contribution (capped at 6.5% of income), an employer contribution (on a sliding scale up to 6.5% of payroll), a hospital fee (at about 4%), federal matching funds, a $2-per-pack tobacco tax increase, and other budget tricks to expand health care coverage to virtually all Californians. The proposal includes an expansion of public programs and subsidized health care coverage to low and moderate-income Californians. And not only would children and parents be covered, but also adults without children. This goes far and beyond what the Governator proposed last month in terms of making he3alth care more affordable to more people, but there are still problems facing this new proposal.

So far, the biggest problem with the new Perata-Nunez proposal is the individual mandate that people must buy health insurance. Also there's concern that the coverage offered by this new plan won't be comprehensive for everyone, as the state's Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board would establish the basic plan Californians must buy, and that the plan may likely include a bare bones set of benefits with pbssible unaffordable deductions and caps on coverage. Oh yes, and some health care advocates are concerned that the 2-6.5% sliding scale of employer payroll contribution is too low- possibly so low that this may actually give employers incentive to lessen the coverage they already provide to their workers. So obviously, this plan isn't perfect.

Today, we are suposed to find out the exact legislative language of what Democrats in Sacramento will be offering the Governor on health care. So this morning, what I want to talk about is whether we should be satisifed with what we've seen so far. What do YOU think about where the debate on health care is headed in California? Are the Legislature and the Governor finally approaching a workable compromise that would actually achieve universal health care in California? Or are Sacramento Democrats compromising too much with Arnold, resulting in something far from the ideal of single payer health care for all and something that would only worsen our health care crisis in California?

I want to hear what you have to say about the current debate on health care in the state, so go ahead and have your say.

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