Several health events today…
At 10:00am, Governor Schwarzenegger has a press conference about “job-lock,” with people who make career and life decisions in order to get health coverage. It’s a big issue: we constantly hear of people who give up their dreams of entrepreneurship for the corporate or government job that will provide health coverage; or the people who unhappily stay in jobs (or marriages) for the health coverage. All this makes the economy less efficient. The solutions? Beyond having a universal system as in SB840(Kuehl), we could at least ensure that all employers are contributing toward their worker’s coverage, that our public programs are less restrictive and cover those who need assistance, and that insurers can’t deny coverage because of one’s health status.
At 10:30am, the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society, and PICO California are introducing the notion of a tobacco tax in the debate, as another potential funding source for health reform. Not only would such a proposal continue to decrease smoking and have positive health impacts, but the revenue could fill some gaps in the proposals, to further extend coverage and/or make it more affordable.
At 11:00am, legislative leaders Speaker Fabian Nunez and Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata will be announcing that they are advancing with one bill, rather than the two that are in print today. If there was any doubt, this sets the stage for the next part of the debate in Sacramento. We’ll have more of an update later today.