In tonight’s California gubernatorial debate, there wasn’t a single word devoted to health care. Not from the journalists, and not brought up by the candidates. Not about health care cuts. Not about regulating insurers. Not about implementing health reform…
Health care is a primary responsibility of the states, and is an area where Governor can have their biggest impacts. Health care is the second biggest part of the California budget–second only to education. Insurance regulation has been entirely an issue overseen at the state level, until this year.
The next Governor of California will have the significant challenge and opportunity to improve our health system, under the new federal health law–but it will be up to them to maximize federal funds coming to our state, and be aggressive in the oversight over the insurers and the industry.
California has one of the worst health crises in the country, with one of the largest percentage of uninsured, of people not getting coverage through work, and of people being denied for pre-existing conditions. The federal health law will provide some direct relief, but to do so it will require a thoughtful implementation.
Here’s hoping future debates provide thoughtful questions and answers about this key area.