Prescription for disaster? Ahnold proposes healthcare ‘requirement’ for all Californians

Posted by: ST on January 9, 2007 at 11:08 am

At a cost of $12 billion. The LA Times reports:

SACRAMENTO — Calling for massive changes throughout a healthcare system he called “broken,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday proposed a $12-billion plan that would require all Californians to obtain medical insurance while helping the poorest to afford it.

The plan, which both critics and supporters called the most audacious in the country, would dramatically reshuffle the financial underpinnings of an already fragile industry. The governor said his plan would control spiraling health costs while ensuring coverage for the quarter of a million children and 5.6 million adults who lack insurance.

[…]

Employers with 10 or more workers would have to offer plans that cost them at least 4% of their payroll. Those who refuse would be required to pay an equivalent amount into the state’s insurance fund for people with no other option. That mandate, while greeted skeptically by businesses, was criticized as too lax by advocates who said that a majority of companies that now provide insurance already contribute much more money.

“It’s the equivalent of setting the minimum wage at $3 an hour,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a consumer advocacy group.

Those earning more than 2 1/2 times the federal poverty level — a total of $41,500 a year for a family of three — would not receive a subsidy but would still have to buy insurance if their employer did not offer it. The cheapest plan would require families to pay $2,000 a year in premiums, and as much as $10,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs.

“By setting this as a minimum, the tendency will be to undermine and reduce the current level offered by some employers, who will use this to justify reducing their benefits much more,” said E. Richard Brown, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, who nonetheless called the proposal “very impressive” in its reach.

“Everyone in California must have health insurance,” Schwarzenegger said via teleconference from Los Angeles, where he is recuperating from a broken leg. “If you can’t afford it, the state will help you buy it, but you must be insured.”

Only Massachusetts has required all residents to carry insurance, but California’s larger population of uninsured and poor makes Schwarzenegger’s goals much more challenging. To pay for the plan, Schwarzenegger proposed placing new fees and obligations on doctors, hospitals, employers and insurers — all powerful lobbies in Sacramento.

The state GOP’s position is as expected:

“If we put any form of mandate on a business, we are seeing a jobs tax,” said Assembly Republican leader Michael Villines of Clovis, echoing the argument that Schwarzenegger himself made in 2004 when he successfully campaigned against Proposition 72. That Democratic plan would have required employers to provide health insurance or pay into a state fund.

The administration insisted that its plan did not include taxes, instead labeling the levies “coverage dividends.” The debate is more than semantic: A measure with taxes needs two-thirds support in the Legislature, giving the GOP veto power. Otherwise, it needs only a simple majority that could be obtained solely with Democratic votes.

Nice trick by the Ahnold admin, eh? Label taxes as “coverage dividends.” Wanna bet a lawyer suggested he word it that way?

Here’s the Governor’s press release.

What say ye?

Update: Captain Ed gives the “Healthinator’s” plan a thumbs down.

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21 Responses to “Prescription for disaster? Ahnold proposes healthcare ‘requirement’ for all Californians”

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  1. Sprockett says:

    This is why we moved from “Kalleefornia” to Idaho, Arnold’s a RINO plain and simple and it was a shame that he won that first election when we tossed Davis out. But with the Democrats running the west coast verion of liberal paradise this will have no problem getting passed.

    If anyone thinks the last exodus from California was bad just wait until this garbage gets enacted, soon the state will have far fewer citizens and businesses, then they’ll be forced to find more creative ways to fund their little slice of utopia….

    Everyday I keep saying, this can’t get any stupider and everyday I’m proven wrong by lunacy like this…

    -Paul-

  2. sanity says:

    He must be channeling Hillary Clinton….

    WHO do you think will be paying for the “Universal” health care he is proposing? I say ‘Universal’ because he wants to include illegal immigrants also.

    Are we to become the ‘free’ health care providers to the world? As long as they can make it to our shores?

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame.
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    That is what is on the tablet of the Statue of Liberty, but it is not an invitation for Welfare. It does not mean that you come here and get free healthcare, free education, free housing…

    What are we….you mother?

    Mommy America and her disrespectful children.

  3. Drewsmom says:

    The Terminator is pandering to the left and illegals for votes, plain and simple.
    Right now I’m in between jobs and have no health insurance but I don’t want to see us go the way of univeral health care. The quality of care in countries that have it is not that good as alot of the people come to the U.S. for healthcare.
    Sprockett I agree with you, Ahhnold is a Rhino who would like to be able to run for President.

  4. PCD says:

    No, Arrnnold has turned into a Girleyman.

  5. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Since I arrived in California in 1936 I have never heard of anyone dieing for lack of medical care. One would think, from the messages, that the streets are littered with the dying. What Arnold proposes is yet another tax, and yet another bureaucracy of democrat voting civil servants living well on the backs of those not fortunate enough to have a Nevada residence to retreat to.

  6. biwah says:

    Walter: We provide emergency care to everyone in this country. The issue is the cost of doing so. The cost of a new system has to be measured against the foregone cost (i.e. savings) of the more piecemeal and inefficient one that preceded it.

    It’s true that numbers on this are elusive but look at the cost of premiums for a healthy adult over the past few years – it’s a ski slope going the wrong way. And if you have asthma or some other relatively manageable condition, they just won’t cover you, unless you have, say $800/mo. to pay in premiums alone, never mind the copays and deductible.

    It’s also a virtual certainty that this program will cost more than advertised. But under the current system, our costs seem to be headed into the stratosphere.

    Finally, although you might not like mandatory participation, participants do have to pay, sothere are incentives not to overuse services and to stay healthy. I don’t know how strong – but maintain that the specific formulas can be tweaked to balance maximum coverage with maintenance of personal responsibility.

    And, at the same time, Arnold is rolling back welfare for children when the parents exceed their window of time to find a job. That should be of some consolation to most of you.

  7. Sprockett says:

    That’s a load of millarky!!! :x

    The costs are so high because we have overrun our courts with people looking to get rich, anytime someone gets mis-diagnosed or a mistake happens people start suing. They sue doctors, hospitals, nurses, each other, and of course the ONLY thing that will make them feel better is a big lump of cash.

    A simple emergency room visit to sew up my hand 3 years ago was priced out at over $1200, and I was there maybe 30 minutes (8 stitches) in the actual room and 2 waiting. We have taken healthcare out of the hands of the healers and handed it to the wolves and snakes in the form of lawyers and people only interested in making a buck.

    I understand that the staff needs to get paid, and that there are supplies involved but even still it’s vastly overpriced. Dr’s are also so afraid to make mistakes, so they overtest and instead of making quick decisions make patients suffer while they test and test and test.

    Health insurance is a scam pure and simple, and socialized health care is a disaster. How many people from ‘progressive’ Canada come here to America because they can’t get simple things like a CT scan over there without waiting for weeks and weeks and weeks.

    We need to change the laws on suing Dr’s and hospitals and protect them from the vultures, we also need to re-vamp our entire health-insurance industry and get some common sense rules around how all that is managed. Let the Dr’s and hospitals actually justify why a couple of simple stitches cost $1200. And finally let them compete for your business, not only with pricing but with service, if we do that then not only will we get better health care but costs will go down dramatically…

    -Paul-

  8. biwah says:

    Sprockett, you should direct most of your complaints to the HMOS that currently install a fat cushion against any risk of actually insuring people with health problems, and then collect that as surplus. They do not see patients, conduct health research, or manufacture drugs. Yet you are wanting to hold the doctors accountable. Why not the nurses and the people who sweep the floors while you’re at it?

    Someone sold you a bill of goods on the role of lawsuits in all of this. There are thousands of lawsuits over car accidents in the courts at any given time, yet you aren’t taking out a second mortgage to fund your auto insurance are you? Meanwhile, profits well into the billions at HMOS each year.

    You see the result of our health system run amok, but largely misidentify the culprits.

  9. CJ says:

    WE NEED A MORE SERIOUS RESPONSE.

    Schwarzenegger simply ‘pulled a Bush’, who made the right look utterly inconsistent by flooding education and Medicare with new money.
    Where is our alternative plan that answers the real problem of uninsured Americans? Blaming malpractice lawyers doesn’t cut it. After 10 years of being the side with new ideas, we are the ones simply repeating “We can’t do it.”

    Schwarzenegger has shown he has no philosophical reason for being a member of the GOP. He was ‘small government’ when it was necessary to get elected, and big gov to stay elected. The national GOP has been pretty much the same.

    The left may have old, simplistic ideas. But at least they have ideas.

  10. Robert says:

    Only $12 Billion?

    Enough about this crap that we can’t afford it. This is the richest country in the history of the world.
    There’s plenty of money to go around for health coverage for all Americans.

    Hell, we LOST $9 Billion in the Iraq War, and are spending another half-trillion to fight it. AND we aren’t getting anything from it.

    Money was found to give to BushCo, I’m sure we can find more to give to the needy.
    Hell, roll back the richest 1%’s tax break. That should help.

    Ahhh Taxes. The small price we pay to live in a civilized society.

  11. Baklava says:

    12 Billion is more than 10% of the CA Budget Robert. Additionally, when Medicare was proposed it’s proposal estimates were 10% of what it ended up costing in projection years. Using this HISTORY, it could be that this new entitlement would cost CA 120 Billions which is more than CA’s current budget. Especially with more than 10 million illegal immigrants in this state alone.

    Utopia is nice. Conservatives are not evil or mean spirited for understanding that utopia isn’t possible. We also are actually MORE loving for understanding that it’s good to teach a man to fish rather than giving him fish.

    Non-able bodied and elderly people should be taken care of and that isn’t part of the discussion. So no need to argue in the extremes.

  12. sanity says:

    And that isn’t even touching on the fact that what he proposes is adding illegal immigrants, peole who are not citizens of this country, people who are citizens of another country, in for what he proposes.

    Hillary care was bad enough but I believe she only proposed it for those that were citizens of this country, Arnold wants it for non-citizens too.

    Budget or no budget, where does it come from….other people, working people, who will have to pay more taxes to pay for healthcare of non-citizens, illegal immigrants who are here, you guessed it…illegally.

    The previous poster who mentioned removing the tax breaks or tax cuts of the top 1% (who already pay the majority of the taxes) sounds more like class envy to me. Just because they have money doesn’t entitle you to take it just because they earn more than you. We live in a Capitalist society, not a Socialist society. We shouldn’t punish people for making money, or keep increasing their load they pay. If they aren’t paying their fair share, fine. If they are cheating, nail their hides to the wall, but if they are paying and paying and paying, and all you want to do is make them pay more because you figure “well they have money”, then YOU are wrong. They pay the most, and it is because of them that you pay as little taxes as you do and bitch and complain that you pay too much. Perhaps you should compare taxes with one of those that pay the majority of the taxes in the US and gain some perspective.

    I am not rich, hell not by far, I am married, 2 children, and I support my family and my wife stays home to take care of our children. We agreed on that so we have a parent with them at all times. Sure we sacrifice by not having an added income, but that was what WE decided. At my current level of income I make below 40k a year, but we make it, bills get paid, rent is made on time, children are fed..ect. I have good insurance through my job and while I wish I made a lot more money, I don’t envy those that do…I could be making less or doing worse.

    Now that little bit of ‘understanding’ from my perspective is out of the way, I have one question…

    Do you think if you cannot afford something, that it should be given to you for free?

    Healthcare is a service.
    Should you get a service for nothing?
    That service you want for free has people that need to be paid, test that need to be paid for, medicines that need to be paid for. Should you get that for free?

    Where does it say in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that my healthcare or that of an illegal immigrants, should be free?

    I know its a sad thing that not everyone has insurance, or healthcare, but most states have something set up for children, like in Michigan they have MIChild. BUT what we get or want in life is paid for, one way or another.

    There is no such thing as FREE healthcare, FREE housing..ect. Someone, somewhere is paying for it….which most likely means increases in taxation to cover the ‘FREE’ things you want to offer to illegal immigrants.

  13. biwah says:

    sanity, just for some perspective, we do not live in a purely capitalist society. Ours is a mix of socialist and capitalist principles at work in an enormous rube goldberg system that, by some miracle, seems to work.

    That’s our baseline, not “nobody gets nothin for free”.

  14. sanity says:

    That’s our baseline, not “nobody gets nothin for free”.

    But it is true though biwah, nothing is free.

    Somewhere, someone is paying for it.

    Take from those that make money and give to those that don’t is what I believe Democrats are about. Redistribution of wealth, unless it starts cutting into THEIR wealth, that is.

    How about we start instituting the type of pensions, healthcare and retirement that Senators and Congressman enjoy? They have a completely different system than we peon types do.

  15. Sprockett says:

    Biwah…

    Why blame the HMO’s?? they are simply taking advantage of an already corrupt system?? If you want socialized healthcare then that should be your starting model, a large blundering administration that is insulated from the actual impact of it’s decisions. That’s how government operates today, why would healthcare be any different if they decided to force it on everyone?

    We don’t live in a socialist society, this is a republic and we encourage capitalism as a healthy way to grow this country. It’s only been since FDR that we started down this mixed road and look where we are today… Healthcare is so expensive that we have to have ‘insurance’ to even get it anymore, somebody, somewhere is making a mint on this. It’s like buying food at a theatre, you know a cup of coke only costs 35 cents max to make (cup and all), yet they go ahead and charge $4.50 for it because you have no choice.

    I assure you if a theatre chain offered the same movies as the others, charged a more reasonable ticket price and reasonable prices on the snack bar, they would be overrun with business. It’s the same with healthcare, if we would get out of the way, and let them compete the market would adjust and we’d all win.

    To discount Lawyers impact on this society and healthcare in general is oddly surprising, for the last 5 years the country has seen a dramatic drop in smalltown doctors and especially OBGYN doctors. Not because we don’t have enough but because they can’t afford as a small practice to make a simple mistake and get sued, so many Dr’s just don’t do it. John Edwards made a career of suing healthcare providers for things like downs syndrome, and we now have reports that in delivery rooms there are more C-Sections being performed because hospitals are worried about any complication being fueld for a lawsuit.

    If you want socialized medicine then head north to Canada, or you can go to England or even France, but good luck to you if you have something wrong and need to see a Dr or if you have something seriously wrong.

    I’m all for healthcare for people who can’t afford it, a safety net of sorts and I’d happily pay taxes for something like that. But they way it works today you would get taxed and maybe %3 of that money would even go to the people who need the help, instead it would take a huge government agency that would over-regulate everything and then claim time and time again they need more funds.

    Sanity’s right, the people who make these decisions have never needed a free healthcare system, they live and operate in a different class. Arnolds a closet liberal disguised as a conservative and like all liberals they are happy to spend everyone elses money to make the world a better place. Problem is they never do, Hillary Care should have been a warning to us all…

    -Paul-

  16. American Vet says:

    I happen to have a friend who is a doctor delivering babies in Las Vegas. During a visit to his house, I asked him, now that you have an established practice, how do you like being a doctor? His answer; “if I had it to do over, I would go to business school.” I asked him why, “because of my malpractice insurance and being sued. Here in Las Vegas, we have been flooded by illegals who have had no pre-natal care. If I am the doctor on duty and I deliver the baby and something goes wrong due to not having pre-natal care, I get sued! I drives up my insurance premiums and the hospital and I have to charge more to cover those costs.”
    The moral of his statements; lawyers and being sued plays a major role in medical costs.
    You can also look up the fact that Las Vegas has a problem with doctors moving their practices from Vegas for this reason.

  17. Lorica says:

    I agree Vet. It gets soooo tiresome for people to say, we will just charge the doctor, and not realize that ultimately, the consumer gets stuck paying this garbage. – Lorica

  18. Mwalimu Daudi says:

    Having Arnold in the Governor’s chair instead of a Democrat is a little like falling off of a 10-story building instead of a 110-story building. There is probably some advantage, but it’s hard to see what it is.

    Still, Arnold’s victory last year irritated the crap out of the MSM and their Democratic pets. That does not make it worth it, but it does make it a bit enjoyable.

  19. PCD says:

    Mwalimu, Aaahhhhnolldd ran as a Republican, not a RINO.

  20. Lorica says:

    I think Arnold just sealed his defeat as a politician. Maybe he can go back and make Conan 3 now. – Lorica =))