It’s hard to follow any good speaker. It’s even harder to follow a person known as “The Speaker.” But that was my challenge this week when I presented at the Working Families Summit on Thursday, to describe the Health Access California agenda for 2007.
Speaker Nunez talked at some length about his health reform proposal, which included his commitment to cover *all* children, and to require “fair share” participation from employers as well as employees. At the same time, he expressed his appropriate concern with an “individual mandate” approach, but was interested in Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposals to place better rules and oversight over insurers. He ended with his optimism about passing major health reform this year, and asked the audience to keep him and other elected leaders accountable for this goal. We intend to.
The last time I presented at the Summit two years ago, I offered three goals: 1) to protect public health programs from severe budget cuts (Check!), 2) to pass major consumer protections, including to prevent the uninsured from being overcharged, for hospital care or prescription drugs (Check!), or 3) to pass major health reform and expand coverage. (Well, we certainly tried on many fronts, but we had to leave something for this year!)
My presentation complemented the Speaker’s comments. A concise paper that describes our recommendations and philsophy for health reform and coverage expansion is now posted on our website, at: