It’s good that the Senate Republicans have put something on the table. (The Assembly Democrats were quick with a statement noting the lack of a plan by the their Republican counterparts.)
The initial take is that it would take us in the wrong direction.
Rather than bringing new resources to improve our health care, the plan proposes to rob Peter to pay Paul: increasing access to some by undermining access to care and coverage for many. For example, it would take money from safety-net hospitals on which we all rely. It would fund children’s coverage by taking from other children’s programs.
For both public and private coverage, it seeks to increase underinsurance, encouraging high deductibles and scaled-back benefits. And in addition to the problems of what’s there, there’s also the problem of what’s missing: standards for employer-based coverage; better outreach and real streamlining of public programs; more, rather than less, oversight over insurers.
Don’t get me wrong: with more legislators at the table, we are still optimistic about the debate and the outcome. The focus on both access and coverage is important, and we support the push for more community clinics…we don’t think that should come at the expense of other parts of the health system. And with the other proposals on the table, from the Governor’s to Senator Kuehl’s, the time is ripe for action.