As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

On Gimmicks

The Democrats in the state Legislature are announcing a health care compromise at this hour, which appears to include an individual mandate with exemptions (making it, um, NOT a mandate), subsidies for families up to $62,000/year, a cap on cost at 6.5% of income (that's where the exemptions kick in) and a funding mechanism including employer payments and a two-dollar-a-pack cigarette tax.

It's also worth noting that this would be on top of the 61-cent-per-pack federal increase as part of SCHIP expansion - making California cigarettes $2.61 more expensive per pack. But maybe they can rebrand them as "CALIFORNIA CIGARETTES" with trips to "cigarette country" and tasting rooms and train tours. If not, I'm sure people will either quit, or figure out a way to buy them online or on the black market. The revenue projections won't hold.

The bottom line is that poll after poll has shown that people are willing to pay for better health care services, and shuffling the burden off onto gimmick sin taxes is weak and wrong. At some point, Democrats have to take a stand and prioritize what's worth funding. That doesn't mean I don't support the plan; I support SCHIP because on balance it's a successful program and you can't hold kids hostage to bad tax policy. I'm waiting for the details, particularly on what the insurance actually is required to provide, whether there's guaranteed issue, and whether there's community rating. I also think that state efforts like this are swimming mightily uphill, and considering that the state is in fairly dire financial straits I think it might not be a time to supplant what may happen on the federal level.

UPDATE: Boy, this is awesome leadership.

"We're a hop, skip or a jump from a deal we hope the governor can embrace," Núñez said. "If he doesn't, Senator Don Perata and I will have to sit down and figure out what more movement we could possibly make."

Shorter Fabian Nuñez: "We're going to give Schwarzenegger whatever he wants, and if he rejects it, we'll buy him a pony, too."

That's the worst negotiating stance I've ever seen. And the point is that Nuñez and lesiglative Democrats need to put something on the board this year so they can justify being sent back through a change in term limits laws, a battle where they will now have a major opponent. There's literally no reason for Schwarzenegger to accept this, because he's already been told that the Dems are willing to cave even more.

I've had it with this leadership.

Labels: , , , , ,