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Ca Senate passes one-payer health bill -- voice your opinion to the governor

Original post made by $25k annual copays and non-covered medical, Green Acres, on Sep 9, 2006

For information about SB 840 Universal Health Insurance Bill

A good blog discussion at
Web Link

Links (there are many others pro and con if you use Google)
Web Link

The Governor has a 24 HOUR automated voting system set up that will
take messages on SB 840 specifically. When you call press 1 (for
English), then 2 (to speak out on issues), then 4 (for SB 840), then
listen carefully.

You can call and place a vote now at 916-445-2841
I did this and was not able to leave a message, only place a yes or no vote.

You can email the governor your opinion at
<Web Link

I do not personally know whether this is a well-crafted bill yet or not, I am posting it because it's such a relevant issue for our community, both for businesses and families.

I do have a comment about reform in general: according to Public Citizen, less than 50% of health care dollars we spend today go to actual care, the rest go to support a truly massive (mostly private) bureaucracy and profit. Unfortunately, profit incentives to delay and deny care encourage more, not less, bureaucracy. In other words, the efficiencies of the marketplace have fostered a bureaucracy the likes of which any non-profit or government agency would be hard-pressed to emulate.

Of course, by the example of other sectors of the economy where the consumer can essentially be held hostage -- utilities, water, sewer, to name a few -- generally private control doesn't provide added value, it's just too easy to take advantage. In those areas, government often does a better, more efficient and more effective job. We're not asking government to provide the care, simply to administer a single-payer insurance.

We need a system that functions primarily to provide good care. At this point, I think we shouldn't be afraid of trying a new way to finance health care. I'm at least going to read the bill very carefully and voice my opinion to the Governor.

I would love to see a thoughtful discussion on THIS bill specifically.

Comments (5)

Posted by R.S.
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 9, 2006 at 2:39 pm

Why are you wasting people's time with this thread? On Tuesday, Sept. 5, Schwarzenegger said he would veto SB 840. There aren't enough votes to override his veto. Case closed.

Just to set the record straight, SB840 would have created a single-payer (that means the single payer is the government, which gets its money from all of us), state-run health-care system. It would have eliminated much of the private insurance market, reduced consumer choice and increased employer costs. Doctors who offered health-care out of the state system would be jailed. The governor wrote op-ed in Tuesday's San Diego Union Tribune explaining his veto, calling the system “socialized medicine.”

Posted by $25k annual copays and non-covered medical
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 9, 2006 at 10:32 pm

Schwarzenegger said he would veto SB 840, but he still obviously wants to know what Californian's think -- Schwarzenegger is not Bush, he actually is capable of thinking about it and changing his mind based on the facts and the will of Californians -- and he's learned from not listening during the last election. Hence the value of a thoughtful discussion about it -- the bill is still alive.

As I said, I have not made up my mind about this bill. Well-implemented reform is truly necessary. If not this bill, I would like to see the governor offer an alternative.

I wouldn't want to see employer costs increase; if that would happen under such a bill, then it's not good legislation. Based on what I have read, that doesn't appear to be the case, it appears it would save employers money. Eliminating the private insurance market would be a monumental savings. The influences also distort the market and increase the cost of care substantially. I think that is actually the most important aspect of the bill.

We can do better than this, for our loved ones, for ourselves, for the dedicated people who commit their lives to provide care. At this point, we could so easily do better than this.

A friend compared the care she received in Australia when she had a premature birth which required a stay in intensive care for her newborn with the care she received here for an uncomplicated birth with no anesthesia after which she went home the next day. Her share of the former care was only about $2,000 (20% of the total) for everything including her own hospital stay; the latter care totalled over $20,000 when all was said and done. She said the care in the Australian hospital was significantly better, too.

Before anyone writes any hateful "then leave" type messages (which are so common when anyone tries to point out that we really don't have to put up with this dysfunctional system), let me just respond now by saying if such a person thinks so little of our country that we cannot do better than this, then perhaps s/he should take that message to the mirror and read it there.

Even if the bill isn't perfect, perhaps just doing something to get us out of this inaction of fear and prove to ourselves that we can survive change -- and then work the problems out of the new legislation by refining it so that we do fix our broken, bloated, and bureaucratically-burdened healthcare system -- perhaps that is the first giant step toward a better system.

Posted by R.S.
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 10, 2006 at 9:39 am

Look, SB 840 ain't going to happen.

If you want to argue about the merits of socialized medicine, how come there aren't flocks of people heading to Canada or Cuba? And did you know that if you need heart bypass surgery in Canada, and you're over 55, you don't get it. They ration care. So those people are left to die.

Socialized medicine has been on the California ballot three times in the past 10 years and each time it was soundly defeated by voters. Want to go for No. 4?

Posted by $25k annual copays and non-covered medical
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 11, 2006 at 10:37 am

I'd love to see a discussion about THIS bill rather than flogging old terminology that doesn't really enlighten. I'd hoped to keep this discussion above knee-jerk fear mongering. Is this really a proposal for "socialized" medicine? Just because a proposal moves to a different type of financing does not make it socialized medicine. The best care I've received in the past two decades has been hands down from non-profit organizations (providers and insurers) -- which to a one got more expensive and changed for the worse when they went for-profit -- these weren't "socialist" organizations when they were functioning primarily to provide the best care possible.

I don't think this bill is intended to affect the delivery of care so much as the way it is financed -- in particular, eliminating the hugely costly and burdensome private insurance system we have.

Does anyone have (an intelligent) analysis of how the bill would impact the delivery of care?

Posted by $25k annual copays and non-covered medical
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 11, 2006 at 10:53 am

Oh, just in answer to your question --

I don't know about flocking to Canada, but I've been getting drugs from Canada. One of the drugs I took regularly became unavailable, the maker simply stopped selling it here after their patent ran out and they could no longer charge something like $10 a pill. The drug was still approved here, just not available. So I ordered the drug from Canada, where the total cost of the same drug -- same manufacturer, the NAME BRAND drug as it had always been sold in Canada, too -- cost less than my copay had been here before. And insurance paid for most of this lower cost.

I had to take another drug that wasn't available here, but is available in the rest of the world. Apparently, it's so cheap, no one wanted to bother going through the approval process here. So I was paying a few dollars to get the drug from Canada (where it is approved, this is legal). Most of the cost of the drug was frankly to have it mailed. Somehow in the last year or so, someone did get the drug through the approval process here, so I got it through my local pharmacy -- and was shocked to literally be paying a few orders of magnitude more for it.

This country used to make a lot of money from "medical tourism" -- that is, people coming from other countries to get better care here. That has fallen off dramatically -- people are favoring countries like Switzerland (which by R.S.'s definition, has "socialized" medicine, of very high quality). In fact, a friend whose parents in India are getting older would love to move them here to be close to the grandkids -- they even have a cottage on their property -- it's just that the medical care they receive IN INDIA is so much better than they have access to here, so much more timely, and frankly, affordable.

I know someone who had to go on a waiting list to get into the hospital for an IV antibiotic for a bad infection in a limb (was given oral medications to tide him over until space opened up so he could be treated properly) -- this was here locally, a person with a good job who has HMO/insurance -- this kind of stuff never happened twenty years ago in this country.

Sorry, we could get lost getting into anecdotes -- I'd really love to discuss this bill and how it affects the financing of healthcare versus the actual delivery of care. What do you think?

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