The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

Health Care Reform From One Person's Perspective

AB 8: Let’s Slow Down and Get it Right

Posted by Alan on August 2, 2007

With the Legislature unable to agree to a budget, the Legislative Leadership’s health care reform plan, AB 8, hasn’t been the center of attention — yet.  However, there are plenty of incentives out there to pass something — anything — quickly. The Unions are anxious for reform, rank-and-file legislators want to show some major accomplishments before asking voters to change term limit rules, and then there’s those pesky elections in 2008.

The danger is that in their haste to pass something, the Legislature will cobble together a cluster of interesting, yet ill-conceived, reforms which, when taken together, result in a health care system worse than the one we’ve got. And there’s no one betting the Governor will hold them accountable. He has his own reasons for wanting to pass “comprehensive health care reform.” So he may sign a bad bill just to sign a bill.

 So for those who care about achieving responsible, comprehensive reform, the thing to focus on when communicating with their legislators it to let them know it’s OK to take the time to do this right. If enough rank-and-file members tell their leadership it’s OK to slow down and get things right, the Leadership might listen.

After all, the day they pass something like AB 8, the law suits start. So why not develop legislation that will have a better chance to survive the legal challenge? And why not spend some time thinking through some of the consequences of AB 8? As I’ll discuss in future posts, there’s a very good chance the legislation, if passed as is, will:

  • make health insurance less affordable; 
  • increase the number of uninsured,
  • deprive consumers of meaningful choice when it comes to selecting coverage;
  • deprive consumers of access to independent advocates and counselors (i.e., insurance agents); and
  • disrupt a very substantial portion of the state’s economy.

I’m willing to bet no one wants any of these outcomes, yet that’s the bruisin’ AB 8 is cruisin’ to. Let’s hope Legislators stop the race to disaster and try to get things right.


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