As a health consumer advocate, it seems the most appropriate holiday this season is Festivus, with its annual airing of greivances.
Where would you start? Health reform stalling at the beginning of the year? Many worthy bills dying in the legislature or by the Governor’s veto pen, not for policy reasons, or even the standard tug-of-war between interests, but seemingly for petty personality politics?
Any recap of the year starts and ends with the budget crisis–the ugly cuts made (including paperwork burdens for the purpose of having kids drop off coverage), as well as the many threatened; the disastrous September budget that makes the situation worse, with corporate tax giveaways and an unfunded “rainy day” fund that–if not defeated on a future ballot–will siphon money from health and education, and other vital services. We have a “year in review” piece ready to publish, but given that budget negotiations are continuing, we may have more bad news to add to it before the year is out.
In a “bah humbug” mood about the budget, George Skelton in the LA Times has a holiday column that simply takes apart the arguments by those that refuse any discussion of new taxes to prevent devastating cuts. There’s no time of year where it’s good to deny health care to our fellow Californians, whether they be children, the poor, or others. Hopefully the decisions made in the holiday season start the new year in a positive way.