I believe providing affordable and reliable health care for working and middle class families is a moral responsibility. Let’s take the profit motive out of health care and also push personal responsibility”
Here are come couple of things the State of California can do:
Make All Health Care Providers Not-for-Profit Corporations
Switching all health care providers to become non-profit corporations would instantly change the culture of health care. As it exists today, for-profit health care providers need to maximize profits to share holders; that means they have an incentive to deny care by servicing areas where people have “Cadillac” insurance plans, or where they can offer expensive services such as dialysis or chemotherapy. Non-profit providers have no obligations to share holders, their key incentive is to provide better services and customers satisfied.
Create Low Cost Buying Pools
Some of the greatest costs in healthcare are in pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Like any other product, the cost goes down as you buy higher quantities. That’s called an economy of scale. By using the buying power of state government, we can save on traditionally expensive medical products. The State of California through the Department of Corporations can establish a buying pool where it purchases pharmaceuticals and medical devices at cut-rate costs. The State can then in turn sell those products to non-profit health providers at a significant discount. This practice is already used in many counties across California, but limited to certain types of health providers. Opening this process to all non-profits would lower healthcare costs overall.
Good Health Starts With Our Kids
As an educator, I have seen first hand the devastating affects of budget cuts on student performance. But one thing we very seldom consider is what affects those cuts have on student health. For instance, 20% of Los Angeles County students in grades 5, 7, and 9 are now obese. This costs our LA County $12-billion a year in healthcare costs and lost productivity. Imagine what another $12-billion dollars a year could do for our families. So what can be done? Well, it’s really a matter of priorities. We make our children healthier we need to:
Bring back recess.
Many schools have canceled recess in favor of concentrating on studying for tests. This is short sighted and damaging. As a teacher, I know the positive affect a little exercise can have at calming and helping young people concentrate. Here’s a great website about a national campaign to rescue recess.
Expand gym class and integrate sports in elementary school.
Like recess, physical education classes are being cut back severely in many local schools. Studies show that kids that participate in sports have better time management and actually do better in school. We should integrate our local school sports programs with local youth leagues. Practice and games would be played on site at schools, making it easier for kids to participate in sports. The leagues could share costs with schools; leagues could charge entry fees or operate concession stands to help fund programs. We should also consider expanding beyond traditional sports like baseball, football, soccer and basketball, and include activities like golf, archery, and dance. Engaged students don’t get in trouble and do better in school. Here’s a great website that discusses ways to expand sports in local schools.