Vanguard Radio on April 15 Discusses Health Care in California

Write in to ask questions of Jessica Rothhaar from Health Access –

Universal health care has long been on the agenda, but for nearly 20 years, politicians from state legislators up to the President of the United States have discussed health care reform, but have not been able to implement it.

At present, there are competing health care bills working their way through the California Legislature.  In addition, President Obama is working hard to find a way to pass national health care reform.

There are of course different theories on how best to provide health care.  The overriding consensus though is that the current system is too expensive, too restrictive, leaves too many uninsured or underinsured and is inefficient.

Many however fear that changes to health care reform will result in what they believe to be socialized medicine that they envision in Europe where the government completely controls health care and thus robs the system of priviate innovation.

Reformers are looking at systems such as single payer or a modified Medicare system to provide the advantage of market competition while at the same time eliminate the current disadvantages of the present system–high costs and lack of coverage.

Critics fear that any system where the government provides universal access to health care will not only rob the free market of its innovative power and the engine of productivity and wealth, but reap great costs on the taxpayer.

Those criticis ignore the current system that costs a tremendous amount for employers and other individuals to buy into.

Jessica Rothhaar from Health Access deals with many of these issues on a regular basis.  She can address questions and concerns about the major health care plans such as the ones that President Obama, State Senator Mark Leno, and State Assemblyman Dave Jones are putting forward.

We will also talk about medical debt and how to protect consumers.

“Medical debt is the one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States.  In fact, it is estimated that half of all mortgage foreclosures in 2008 were caused by medical debt or illness.  Small business owners and the self-employed are particularly vulnerable to medical debt: for example, one-third of California farmers and ranchers report paying more than 10 percent of their income on health costs, and one in five have financial problems as a result.  As the economic recession deepens, hundreds of thousands of Californians will lose their insurance coverage,  and potentially face the tough choice between going into debt for medical care or dealing with the health consequences of not getting needed care.”

In addition, the California budget crisis has forced a number of iniatives onto the state ballot for May 19.

One of those is Prop 1A.  Health Access is strongly opposed to Prop 1A.

“Proposition 1A will be up for a vote during the Special Election on May 19. Hastily written in secret with no public hearings or analysis, as part of the recent budget deal, Proposition 1A would limit California’s ability to invest in health care, higher education, public safety, and other areas. It would divert money from these services into a reserve–in good times and bad–and thus force cuts to vital services. It gives the Governor unilateral power to make additional cuts without legislative oversight or review.

Read the fine print: Prop. 1A would amend the state Constitution to limit the amount of revenue that could be appropriated for the services supported by the state’s General Fund, and give the Governor unilateral power to make mid-year spending cuts without legislative review. The limit is tied to a ten-year average that includes the worst recession in modern history, likely preventing California from restoring cuts that have been made when the economy improves. And by restricting the use of the reserve to a formula only tied to population growth and inflation, it ignores the real needs of California’s aging population (which is expected to double), our health system (and medical costs), and our evolving state. In other words, the spending cap would make the state even less able to fund health and other vital services than it is now, even if revenues increased in future years.”

Jessica Rothhaar will be on Vanguard Radio, KDRT 95.7 FM on Wednesday April 15 from 6 to 7 pm.  You can listen to the live stream at

If you would like to ask questions about health care or the upcoming ballot initiatives, please post your questions here and she will answer them on the radio.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Don Shor

    Please describe the funding mechanism for SB840, and what the cost will be to small businesses that do not currently offer health care to their employees.

  2. Caine-607 X

    At present, there are competing health care bills working their way through the California Legislature. In addition, President Obama is working hard to find a way to pass national health care reform.

    Uh, huh. Obama just wants to take it over, just like he wants to take over the banks and the auto industry. All hail king Obama.

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