Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Healthcare Disaster

As if there was any doubt that Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't a card carrying Socialist, he announced on Monday that he wants to require that everyone in California has health insurance. If you can't afford it, that's OK; the state taxpayers will pay for it instead.

This is such a supremely bad idea, I hardly know where to begin denouncing and defaming this plan.

If the plan goes through, any employer with 10 or more workers will be required to buy insurance for those workers or pay a fee of 4% of their payroll into a program to help provide coverage for the uninsured.

This is going to lower wages and/or raise the price of goods and services for California based businesses. Why? When faced with extra costs, it has to come out of somewhere. The company isn't going to magically find that extra 4% of revenue to spend on health care that they're not already spending somewhere else. Some businesses will close up shop and leave the state. Others who have just over 10 employees will probably lay off enough to bring head count to nine. Others will raise prices or cut services. Some will do a combination of all of this. The money has to come from somewhere. The employers aren't simply going to smile and suck it up. Employers should be storming the gates in Sacramento over this proposal.

For those employers who opt to pay the 4% fee, their employees are only going to get the bottom wrung state insurance, not the (typically) better private insurance. You think your HMO is tough now? Just wait until you see what the state will and won't pay for. In typical California fashion, sex changes, breast enhancement and penis enlargement will probably be covered but people will die waiting for kidney transplants, heart valves tumor removal.

As part of the effort to fund this program, doctors will be taxed 2% of their GROSS revenue and hospitals will be taxed 4%. He's arguing that since more people will have insurance, medical providers will make more money.

Allow me to translate. People who don't have medical coverage will start using insurance for stupid little things that they never would have sought medical care for if they had to pay for it themselves. As if the insurance industry wasn't screwed up enough, this will ultimately cost them and the taxpayers MORE MONEY than they are paying out now. The uninsured and under insured tend to only go to the doctor when it's really needed. They'd rather go to the doctor and get a prescription for something and only pay $10 rather than pay $20 for something that would work over the counter. They do this without taking in to the total cost to everyone else. Why should they? They have a RIGHT to health care. In the end, it's a vicious cycle feeding itself and will only survive by taking more and more tax money.

As part of the plan, insurers will be banned from refusing covering because of prior medical conditions. Shouldn't a business be free to decide who they want to do business with? When they are barred from refusing coverage, they simply pass that cost on to the rest of us in the form of higher premiums. For those who have their premium paid by the state, it just means more of your tax dollars paying for those higher premium. Insurers would also be forced to spend at least 85% of their premium revenues on patient care. So the state is now going to dictate the revenue model? Sure, that will be good for business. It's over regulation of the insurance industry that has put it in the abysmal state it's in now.

Can anyone find anywhere that this is good for the economy yet? No? Well, can anyone tell me how this encourages entrepreneurship in this state? I didn't think so. But wait, there's more!

Schwarzennegger cares about children, all children. To prove it, the plan will extend the Healthy Families program and cover the children of illegal aliens. Yep, they'll all have insurance too thanks to you!

I'm sure word of this plan has already begun circulating south of the border. No doubt the Mexican government is going run commercials announcing it. It will induce yet another huge wave of illegal immigration. Not only that, illegal immigrants that are currently living in other states will end up here in California. Because this part of the plan also covers poor families that are United States citizens, we will also see a wave of poor people from other states moving here for the health benefits. This will drive up welfare costs, crime and result in more unemployment for our beleaguered state.

There is no benefit so far. Sure, more people will be insured but at what cost to the rest of us? I'm not insured right now and I don't want this plan! It will devastate the economy.

Lest we forget about the slippery slope which is alive and well... How long will it take after the implementation of this plan for lawsuits to be filed demanding that anyone residing in the state regardless of immigration status be treated for free? How long it will be before the state decides, much like Canada has, that it's inherently unfair that some people can afford better health care than others and forbid the purchase of private insurance at all? It will all become state run and private insurance will go away. In order to get quality health care, you will have to go to a different state. How many doctors are going to quit practicing in California because of the screwy rules? Do you think this is going to benefit them at all? No, it will worsen their working conditions, probably open them up to more lawsuits and reduce their income. They will simply leave the state or refuse to participate as a doctor in the new system.

State funded health care is NOT A RIGHT. There is nothing fair about being forced to hand more money over to the government to so they can give it to someone else. If health care is such a right than so is government paid food and housing for EVERYONE!

Why don't we just turn over 100% of our income to the government and let them decide what we do and don't need. They are so wise, they should know more about what we need than we do.

Oh, and don't be fooled; Arnie intends to turn this in to a model for a national system on Hillary's watch. Look for a cabinet level appointment for him when his term as Governor is up.

Write letters, call, write more letters and make more calls. Even if you don't live in California, help us do something about this because it will eventually land on your doorstep as well; I promise you.