With health care costs
skyrocketing, a new California Health Care Quality Improvement and Cost
Containment Commission (AB 1528 Cohn) may have the most important job
in the state – reining in waste, fraud and profiteering by HMOs,
hospitals, doctors groups, and pharmaceutical companies. The Commission
– created along with Senate Bill 2’s new mandate for employers to pay
for health coverage – has plenty of work to do, but there’s one little
problem. The Governor has yet to make his Commission appointments.
Why wouldn’t The Eraser want to wipe out unnecessary health care costs?
Sure, profiteering HMOs, drug-makers and other health care companies
have paid up to retire Arnold’s campaign debt – including Blue Cross
executive vice president Dennis Weinberg ($21,200), PacifiCare
($31,200), Lawrence Higby, CEO of Apria Healthcare Group ($31,200),
Baxter Health Care ($21,200), Allergan ($20,000), and Johnson &
Johnson ($21,200). But, as we all know, this Guv does not yield to
What else could be behind the action figure’s procrastination? You see
Schwarzenegger supports the Chamber of Commerce’s referendum of SB 2,
which a judge kicked off the March ballot Friday. Putting the cost
control commission to work might mean shining a spotlight on the health
care system’s excesses and finding a way to make health insurance more
affordable. Then SB 2 might start sounding more reasonable to
businesses… and the chances of success for the Chamber’s referendum,
likely to wind up on the November ballot, shrink.
If Arnold wants a good reason to make his appointments soon, he should
call back the couple in their early sixties who, despite their sky box
tickets to Friday’s Lakers game provided by ArnoldWatch, could not get
much face time with the Guv. Pat and Dave Parker, who are being priced
out of the health care system by Blue Cross, could only hand
Schwarzenegger a letter with their phone number to which he has yet to
reply. The Chamber may be the financial muscle behind many of his
political plans, but the Parkers are the soul of Schwarzenegger’s
party. Arnold should spread the Noel beyond his circle of donors.