Tag Archives: health care

Killing Off the Private Option is the Fatal Flaw for SB 562

I understand that our progressive friends want single payer health care where government manages it all. However single payer is not all that glamorous when you read the ugly stories in Canada and the United Kingdom about their system. It was predicted that the Affordable Care Act was basically training wheels for Single Payer because right now the system is ready to derail big time in the next few years. Certain states are going to have NO insurance company as part of their health care exchanges because insurance companies are unwilling to partake in the government system no matter if it is federal or state managed.

Enter SB 562, California’s effort in having a single payer health care system. Co-written by Senators Lara and Atkins it is called the “Healthy California Act”, where the authors strive to improve access to health care. I agree that something should be done when insurance premiums are approaching almost 10 thousand dollars for a family. However, the bad point of the bill is no private option.

The health plans that people rely on will be shuddered thanks to this legislation. Many people in California love Kaiser Pernamente due to it being the Mercedes Benz of health care plans. With this new law, we will be forced into the government system or if you are wealthy you would have to go out of state to pay cash for the health care you need.

The big fear of SB 562 is the reimbursement rates, I would expect to see a health care provider shortage when doctors decide to either retire or move out of California. Medi-Cal currently has a provider shortage due to reimbursement rates. The Democratic Party would likely need to have programs where if one gets educated at the UC medical school they would be required to take care of patients in the state program for a decade in exchange for a modest salary.

I think the authors of SB 562 need to go back to the drawing board and come up with an idea like Medicare Part C and D and the Australian health care system. Government cannot do it all despite many believing it can. Public option can coexist with a Private option.

Fiscally, even if we are paying a 9% tax to help fund the program, will it be sustainable? States such as Vermont crashed and burn when they tried single payer. The California Public Employee Retirement System also has funding shortfalls as well. I am skeptical of California politicians managing money if I trusted Bernie Madoff to manage my portfolio.

Also, the new California tax is regressive when it comes to low income workers. One would be paying the unsubsidized price before ACA subsidies which would take away money that one may need for their car payment or groceries. Democrats are criticizing Trump for doing similar things.

Due to the Super Majority this bill is likely to pass no matter if you like it or not to infer from a quote from Gavin Newsom when he was speaking how equal marriage rights was inevitable. However, this bill needs to go back to the drawing board. We need to come up with solutions to improve the supply of medical providers, how would the authors deal with the issue of big health care networks controlled by the private sector deciding to shut down where private hospitals such as Kaiser Pernamente will fold in California, how would the authors make the payroll tax equitable to low income workers.

The Giving Tree of California Will Fade Away

One of my letter submissions for the month.

It seems that legislators in the Democratic Party are looking for another government program to add to our strained state, single payer health care also known as universal health care. A costly new governmental program is one obligation our state cannot afford after our failures in taking care of infrastructure such as bridges and dams while public pensions are eating local and state government alive.

If we cannot take care of our current obligations, then why support the Universal Health Care bill from Senator Atkins and Lara. We need to limit our obligations so we can afford the programs we have now instead of crumbling down to future generations.

Helping To Improve Health Care

Diabetes is an escalating issue in our society, many of us will unfortunately develop Type 2 Diabetes and it can be prevented if we do it right. Just telling people to be physically fit or watch your diet is not enough. I am thinking we should propose nutrition counseling where people can lean about what foods one should eat to maintain one’s health in that condition.

The idea would be is to have a seminar that would happen twice a week at the health plan offices or a conference center twice a week once on a weekend and once on a week night to teach people about the elements of a good diet and what foods to avoid. People would be served a lunch or dinner from the nutrition program as well. Either a national food service program such as Blue Apron or local retailer such as Sprouts could even offer a take home kit that would provide ingredients so one could make their own meals for the next day to help improve good nutrition habits.

We should have this trialed in our state and see if we actually make some progress in helping to improve health in our region.  We can begin by working with Medi-Cal providers in our state we could help cut costs and improve health outcomes.

Tired of Endless Health Insurance Rate Increases?

Tired of the endless rate increases that insurance companies force on Californian consumers? They complain that they want more people in the pot to get in the insurance pool, but when rates become unaffordable we will get more uninsured. It feels just as bad as the tax increases in California. The more they raise taxes, the more people drop out from the job creation in our state.



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Mole Watch

It stinks when getting a haircut could cost you 250 bucks. I thought I had a sore, but it was actually a mole. I thought it was going to be healed with antibiotic cream, but I end up looking like Harry Potter with an interesting feature on my forehead for the next two weeks.

I was worried after realizing something strange grew on me in the last month. I knew I had to get it looked at and I visited the local dermatologist in Montclair CA. Dr. Woll is located on Central Avenue just south of the 10 freeway. Her building is not exactly on Central, but you will need to enter via a side driveway to enter. She may not be cheap for being uninsured, but she does a good job for what you pay her.

At least I got 40 minutes of service time for the money I paid for.

I thought Laurie was going to say, you will need some prescription cream and after five minutes it would be minus 125 bucks, but after my first visit the minimum cover charge will be 95 dollars so I am relieved after any future visits with her practice. At least I am getting more results than my 350 dollar visit to the ear nose and throat doctor in 2007. Continue reading Mole Watch

Medicare for Dummies

My father is turning 65 next year and he is bewildered about how to navigate the world of Medicare. The mail box is filled with pitches with insurance companies offering to be your best buddy if you sign up for the year with them, but my father does intend to work until 67 or until his body says the show is over so he is reluctant to sign up for Medicare Part C or D.

I wish there was something well done for the people who do not want to utilize computers to find out what is the right Medicare combination that would fit them well.

I know the Wiley Company has one about Medicare Part D, but maybe a Medicare for Dummies that covers the spectrum of Medicare plans might be a good idea. Pack the book with an interactive program people can fire up on their mac or pc made with Adobe AIR and we could get something that might sell big copies since many baby boomers are entering the system and would help make it better for those individuals.

Common questions should be answered such as:

If I am currently working, do I still need to sign up?

What do Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) offer and how do they differ from each other?

Will I owe any extra money if I am still working if I enroll for Medicare Part A, while I am still working?

A Word About Medicare Coverage from Sen. McLeod

Medicare Open Enrollment More Critical Than Ever This Year

Open enrollment for 2011 Medicare coverage has begun, and the annual ritual is critical for Medicare recipients this year with the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act.

Those positive changes make Medicare much stronger, while providing important new benefits beginning in January 2011: free annual wellness visits, free recommended preventative services like mammograms and colonoscopies, and a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs for seniors who fall into the so-called “donut hole” with their annual drug purchases.

For those already on Medicare or those newly eligible, open enrollment lasts almost a full seven weeks this year, from November 15 through December 31, 2010.

“These new benefits make this year’s Medicare Open Enrollment Period especially important. Those enrolled in Medicare can think of the Open Enrollment Period as a yearly coverage ‘check-up,’” said US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a department news release. “It is important for people with Medicare to look closely at their plan, look at the options available to them, consider their health status, and find what works for them.”

Continue reading A Word About Medicare Coverage from Sen. McLeod

Tom Campbell Needs to Revise Health Proposal

Recently Tom Campbell wrote up a response about how to solve the health care issue in the United States for an alternative to the proposals the Democratic Party and President Obama have proposed. I am glad that Tom is actually thinking up solutions on how to solve the pressing issues that we face in California instead of telling people only what we oppose.

Unfortunately Tom needs to go back on the drawing board because his proposal has some externalities that could actually hurt the people that it is intended to benefit. Relying on the private insurance industry is not a good idea because as what Calitics stated, if we remove the anti-trust laws to allow for inter-state insurance policies then insurance companies will set up shop in the states that have the weakest regulations and consumer protections. It sounds good for the opportunity to drive down insurance prices by allowing for more competition, but without regulation we will have bare bones policies that do not cover anything.

Insurance is an industry that is measured based on risk and will insurance companies bid on high risk clients in an open bidding process? If no one bids in a particular region according to Tom Campbell’s plan, the status quo would still be maintained and nothing would happen for the people in a given region to those who are involuntary uninsured for example with pre-existing conditions or people under a certain income level.

Tom’s proposal needs revisions so it could pass scrutiny with congress and the general public. If Tom wants a waiver in how to spend Medi-Cal and SCHIP monies, Tom will need to make sure consumers are protected and the taxpayer’s money is spent efficiently to provide the services people depend on. The problem is private insurance has a bad reputation and with the public option the grass is not greener on the other side. Tom should be applauded for trying to start dialogue on the health care issue, but we need to keep on thinking further for the best solution.

Disneyland’s Health Care Problems

Disney should relent to the hard workers who make their park and their hotels successful. Disney constantly raises their ticket prices and parking rates year after year, but they say they cannot afford to pay for the health care for their workers by shifting the costs and dumping part timers off the health plan. If people knew that their employees were getting quality health care for their high ticket prices that go up ten percent a year maybe they would not feel burned as much. My father and sister bought yearly passes and they rose up $35 dollars per person, Disneyland is becoming unaffordable and Disney just wants to milk the money without thinking of the economic impact of their decisions.

Coming Soon to Obama Care, 83 Year Old Denied Care under Public Option in Sweden

It is ironic that the AARP and other noted senior citizen advocacy groups are sucking up to the Obama Care plan even though it is going against the needs of the members of their organizations. According to the Local, an English language Swedish newspaper, an elderly woman was suffering from spinal stenosis, which causes cramping, pain and numbness in the back.

Although her condition was treatable, the doctors told her that she was too old for the surgery at age 83. Since this woman did not want to deal with unbearable pain and end up having to use a wheelchair, she ended up visiting a private hospital and spending 17,000 USD to get her back in order.

Yes, a public option is going to cost us so much in taxes where we will be taxed to cover the population, but when you hit the target in age, don’t expect that your taxes will help pay for the medical care you will need in your golden years. Better get a health care savings account to be paired with your retirement so you can be prepared for life’s emergencies.