A pre-emptive strike against state health reform

February 25, 2010

While Democrats in California and across the country may be fretting about the lack of movement toward health reform in Washington (or Sacramento), at least one Republican seems to think that big changes are coming. And he aims to stop them in their tracks. State Sen. Tony Strickland of Thousand Oaks has introduced a constitutional amendment that he says would block any attempt to implement “socialized medicine” in California. By that he means not only single-payer, which has long been saddled with that label, but also any form of individual or employer mandates or any law or regulation requiring insurance companies to sell policies to all comers without regard to pre-existing conditions. For good measure, the amendment also takes a whack at the Democrats’ much-loved “public option,” banning any entity “created, operated or subsidized by the government” from competing with private sector health plans. As for single-payer itself, Strickland’s proposal bans that too, unless it is approved by the voters. The proposal is SCA 29. Don’t look for it on your ballot any time soon, unless it is adopted by the health insurance industry. It will certainly never see the light of day in the Legislature. But insurers are more likely to lay low and wait for any state reforms to emerge before trying to block them with a referendum or, if they go on the ballot, a competing measure.

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2 Responses to A pre-emptive strike against state health reform

  1. jskdn

    February 25, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Wouldn’t the effect of such a constitutional amendment, if the voters passed it, be the requirement for another constitutional amendment to get around it? In other words these kinds of changes in health care law would have to be ratified by voters in a constitutional initiative, which can pass with a simple majority of voters.

  2. Dan

    February 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

    That’s true. Anything the voters do they can undo. But this would stop the Legislature and the next governor from imposing mandates and taxes or public options without a vote of the people.

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