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Press Release
Feb 20, 2007 - 01:00 AM


CONTACT: Jerry Flanagan, (310) 392-0522 ext. 319

Schwarzenegger, Núñez & Perata Must Guarantee Price & Quality of Health Coverage Before Requiring Californians to Buy

Santa Monica, CA -- Two months into the health care reform debate in Sacramento, neither Governor Schwarzenegger nor legislative leaders have been willing to guarantee the price and quality of coverage under their proposals. In a letter sent today, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) called on the proponents of the three leading plans to include caps on how much individuals must spend and to guarantee a minimum of coverage.

"Californians have a right to know how much their state-mandated health insurance will cost and what kind of care they will receive for their money. If the private market fails to comply, you need a plan that allows the state to do more," wrote Jamie Court, Judy Dugan and Jerry Flanagan of FTCR.

A $100 per month estimate floated by the Schwarzenegger Administration as the cost of health insurance with a $5,000 deductible under the governor's plan requiring all Californians to buy coverage, "is completely unrealistic, because in today¿s market only the youngest and healthiest are sold such policies. In a market where all Californians must rightly be sold these policies, the prices will be radically higher," FTCR wrote.

Read FTCR's letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker Núñez and Senate Pro Tem Perata.

The three proposals will be discussed today in an Assembly Health Committee. In the letter FTCR wrote:

"The point, gentlemen, is that you say individuals must pay for health insurance, and you say it will be affordable, but none of you are willing to give a price or guarantee comprehensive coverage. This is equivalent to rebuilding the state's highway system without a budget, without strict contract oversight, even without regard to the quality of concrete used. ...

It's time for you to put your law where your mouth is. Each of your bills should have a cap on how much individuals would pay for their insurance, and a strict floor on what benefits these plans provide."

In the letter, FTCR pointed out that Massachusetts, which recently adopted a law similar to the plan supported by Governor Schwarzenegger, has proposed eliminating prescription drug coverage in basic health plans due to higher than expected costs from health insurers.

One result of health insurance without prescription drug coverage is that, "...buyers of such plans would likely be forced to choose surgery over non-covered drug management of ailments that are perfectly treatable without surgery. Such plans would be catastrophic for persons with chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma," wrote FTCR.

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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is the state's leading consumer watchdog group. For more information, visit us on the web at: www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.




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