Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tom Campbell's Budget Fix

The San Francisco Chronicle pointed out yesterday that only two announced candidates in next year's gubernatorial election have come up with specific plans for solving California's perpetual budget crisis. Both Republican Tom Campbell and Steve Poiser have both put forth, at least in some detail, how they'd get the state to live with its means.

Since I've been a Campbell follower for some time, I naturally took a look at his plan (I actually saw his plan first, then read the Chron article). Campbell points out on recent blog entry that nothing was really solved with the passage of the last budget so we'll likely be back to square one before the year is over. He's come up with a bold proposal: Use the money we spend for MediCal and Healthy Families to buy private insurance for all the people currently in those programs.

I think his numbers add up, at least superficially. The problem is, people in those programs are there for a reason. Either they have chronic, serious illnesses that make them ineligible for private insurance, or, they don't make enough money to pay for health insurance- never mind pay the co-payments and deductibles that go along with it.

Even if they could work out some agreement where insurance providers didn't require co-payments from former MediCal recipients, since so many of those recipients have critical and/ or chronic illnesses, the costs to the insurance companies would go through the roof and they'd have to drastically raise premiums for everyone as a result.

I appreciate Tom Campbell's initiative in trying to tackle the 800 pound gorilla in the budget crisis: MediCal. Still, I don't know how his plan to basically rid the state of MediCal would work. Then again, maybe that's the only thing we can do to close the deficit?

Addendum: Health insurance companies don't make as big of a profit as some like to think.



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