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Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2006 | SB 840, the California Health Insurance Reliability Act, which addresses this problem is now on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature. Out of control medical costs are also responsible for close to half of all individual bankruptcies nationally.

SB 840 is estimated to save $8 billion in the first year alone in statewide healthcare spending, enough money to insure all Californians who are currently uninsured, by focusing on providing quality health care instead of private profits. This will save money for families, businesses, and individuals, as well as local governments. It allows patients who can’t afford to obtain preventative care to avoid waiting until they have a medical emergency in which case the state has to step in for much more expensive treatment with the taxpayers footing the bills.

The World Health Organization ranked 191 health systems worldwide in 2000, and the United States ranked 37th even trailing countries like Malta and Oman, and barely edging out Cuba. If anything health care here has deteriorated even further since 2000, because of providers diverting money away from doctors, closing medical facilities, and denying needed and sometimes life saving medical care for the insured as well as uninsured patients in order to maximize profits. At the same time these privately run bureaucracies have radically run up medical costs year after year for excessive executive salaries, expensive marketing campaigns, and administration costs which take 25 cents out of every health care dollar compared to less than 5 cents with a publicly run system.

HMO’s currently cherry pick who they’ll insure, and Americans who have preexisting conditions or little money lack options for this basic human need. SB 840 will also allow Californians to choose their own physicians which is consistent with a free market.

If Arnold Schwartzengger doesn’t sign this bill, don’t complain about the cost or quality of medical care for the next four years if you help to keep him in office.

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