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Single payer pill: It requires only one to overdose

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POSTED June 17, 2017 1:19 a.m.

No one has ever mistaken the California Legislature for the Hoover Institute think tank at Stanford University.
It is why no one should be surprised the State Senate passed universal single payer healthcare legislation devoid of explaining the nuts and bolts framework of how it would work beyond a broad declaration while failing to adopt a means of paying for the $400 billion annual tab.
I am no big fan of relying on doctors or the healthcare system to make sure I stay as healthy as possible. That is a responsibility that rests squarely on my shoulders.
That said I am thankful for modern medical care having had two hernia surgeries and several trips to emergency rooms strapped to a backboard.
I have no real beef with my health insurance that costs me $31.50 a week on top of what my employer pays. My co-pays are arguably middle of the road while my deductibles are on the high side compared to coverage options in typical union contracts. Think government employees such as correction officers, educators, and clerks as well as those covered by private sector contracts in a huge slice of the construction trades and other endeavors such as automobile manufacturing.
But compared to some of the offerings of Silicon Valley tech firms and high flying concerns in places like San Francisco government employee health insurance packages are downright stingy.
This is why the first hole for universal single payer insurance that many State Senators said they voted for to launch it as a trial balloon to get the boat sailing toward reaching the shores of the promised land will likely be poked by union workers.
Only someone living in an alternative dimension would believe what will happen is that everyone’s health care will be lifted to the tech industry standard or even that of government employee unions. Universal insurance means just that — universal.  What is offered in medical care within the confines of California’s borders would have to seek a level that allows it to work. That means there will be winners and losers.
The winners would be those with no coverage (that includes illegals) and what politely might be called bottom tier coverage that is almost as bad as having no insurance once the cost of premiums are factored into the equation.
The losers will be those who have the better plans now such as government workers, those covered by union contracts, and those working for high flying tech firms who will see their standard of medical care shrink.
The California Nurses Association may like the concept as it strengthens their bottom line but it is highly doubtful their union brothers and sisters will share their enthusiasm when it becomes clear that will pay a price beyond whatever taxes politicians come up with to bridge the gap between the $200 million that state gets to fund Medi-Cal from Uncle Sam and the final price tag.
Single payer would essentially create a closed system. In a perfect world that would allow management to provide services in an efficient and timely manner and have the resources to do so. Veterans Administration hospital and clinic system is such an example.
You will hear relatively few complaints about VA’s ability to perform surgeries but you’d have to be completely deaf not to have heard about issues of trying to secure appointments to see doctors in a timely manner.
You will get emergency care for things such as heart attacks or life threatening injuries now in California regardless of your ability to pay. The issue is whether you can afford to see a doctor and access medical services.
But let’s put on our Pollyanna glasses for a second and assume a government agency can recreate the Kaiser model by forcing all healthcare into California essentially into one system. Keep in mind it will be a system where bureaucrats as well as politicians who are long on giving people what they want and short on cutting costs or generating more revenue to finance those wants are running things.
I’ll give you seven words to start with: “High speed rail and the twin tunnels.”
Both were pitched from the get go as much lower cost than they really will end up being and likely won’t deliver for a long time — if ever — on their grandiose promises whether it is the price paid to ride the train or use the water or it being a functional solution for transportation and water security. In fact, most major initiatives that originate in Sacramento if they were financed with stock offerings would get tagged as stocks to avoid at all costs by financial experts like Warren Buffet.
The problem with Obamacare, Trump Care, Ryan Care, and now the Golden State Bankruptcy Plan is that they address the symptoms and not the root of the ailments. Costs will come down if there are more trained medical professionals and a large scale initiative to get people to take more responsibility for their health. This is not referencing to people born with birth defects or other health issues but those who through neglect or self-abuse deteriorate their own health to the point they go searching for that magical pill to undo in days what has taken them years to obtain in terms of bad health.
What politicians are doing is no better. After years of ignoring warning signs such as doctor shortages created by medical school caps posed artificially or failing to expand teaching schools and a host of other issues they want to proclaim they’ve got the answer by whipping up a magical pill that addresses symptoms and not the underlying ailments.


Disclaimer


This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209.249.3519.

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