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Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]

Getting The Facts Straight
State’s health care meddling is hurting people...

[Ray Haynes] 2/16/05

I pride myself on getting the facts straight in my columns documenting events in the capitol. As such, when I find that I have gotten some facts wrong, I want to correct them. This week, I found that I missed some facts, so I need to issue a correction.

My website [and here at CRO] has two of my articles, Oops, Government Did it Again (9/21/04) and We’re the Government and We’re Here to Heal You (6/9/03) that talk about health care, the state’s policy toward health insurers, and the cost, in real lives, of government’s actions to control the health care market, and health insurers. In “Oops” I estimated that, based on the increases in costs that government health insurance mandates would have on health insurance policies, the number of uninsured people in our state would increase from 4 million in 1999 to 6 million in 2004. The reason for the increase? As costs increased, employers would either drop the insurance, or require employees to pick up the cost of the insurance. I also said that my leftist colleagues in the Legislature would use this increase in the uninsured as a justification for more government-covered health care.

I was wrong. A study released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research last week says that the number of uninsured in California was not 6 million, it was 6.5 million. It also says that the reason for the increased number of uninsured is that employers, reacting to the increased cost of health insurance, have been changing how they provide health insurance to their employees. Employers are making employees pay more of the cost of health insurance, wait before the employees or their families are included in the employer’s health plan, or the employers are simply dropping the plan altogether. The hardest hit are the lower wage workers. The study says many of these employees are shifting from employer based insurance to taxpayer financed insurance, through either the Healthy Families Program or MediCal. Eight years ago, private companies were paying for this insurance with their profits. Today, you and I are paying for that insurance with our taxes, because our elected officials keep screwing up the system with government programs, mandates and regulations.

Some have described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” By that definition, my leftist colleagues are truly delusional. Senator Sheila Kuehl, who personally has added mandates to insurance policies that have probably caused 400,000 people to lose their insurance, now wants to create a “single-payer” government health policy. No more of those bloated, inefficient private insurance companies—not for her—she wants a bloated inefficient government program! Speaker Fabian Nunez thinks that employers are “shirking their responsibility” by dropping the health insurance when costs increase due to government regulation. I guess those darn employers are spending too much time trying to save their businesses and their employees’ jobs instead of simply continuing to pay higher health insurance premiums without complaint or regard to what it is doing to their ability to create and maintain those jobs. Others think that the way to solve the problem is to force people to buy insurance, whether they need it or not.

The Governor has said we need a solution, and he is right. The solution is quite simple. Stop taxing people who buy their own insurance, and quit regulating the insurance policies people buy. Doctors, patients, and insurance companies could work this whole thing out by themselves if we would just leave them alone.

We now have the facts straight. Government health care policies are hurting people. I apologize for understating the problem government was causing in health care, and probably leading some of you to think that the problem of government in health care was not as serious as it is. It is very serious, and it needs to change now. CRO


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