Here’s what consumers would need to know to make health care truly market-based. If state lawmakers here want to take a real practical step toward protecting Californians from Trumpcare, they should require doctor, hospital, lab and drug prices to be public. And if Republicans want free-market based health care, they should be equally transparent. Markets can’t operate when consumers don’t know the price.
An obvious fix to Sacramento State’s graduation problem. The university is over budget to hold commencement at Golden 1 Center. The city gets nine free civic events a year. Making the graduation one of them is a no-brainer.
Joe Mathews: California’s poor kids live in some surprising places. A new report from the Public Policy Institute of California shows the Central Coast is California’s capital of child poverty. You may be surprised, believing that California poverty is a problem of the Central Valley and Inland Empire. But the geography of poverty has been flipped by coastal prosperity itself.
Jesse Simons: Ford and other automakers are aggressively pushing President Donald Trump to weaken fuel efficiency standards. To ensure clean air and a healthy climate for our families – not to mention creating more high-paying jobs for the next great generation – we need to put vehicle emissions safeguards in the fast lane, not shift to reverse.
Take a number: 172,615
We are the richest and the poorest of places. The Public Policy Institute graphically illustrates that reality with an interactive map showing that childhood poverty rates vary from place to place in the Golden State. In Los Angeles County, PPIC reports, the poverty rate among young children ranges from 4 percent to 68 percent, the lowest and highest rates. The Highway 99 corridor is dreadful, as well. PPIC reports 754,051 Californians live in poverty, meaning that they survive on $31,000 for a family of four. But 172,615 California are in deep poverty, or 7,800 below the poverty line. California is a Dickensian state.
LA Times: Federal and California tailpipe standards have helped spur tremendous progress in electric and hybrid vehicles in recent years, with cars coming onto the market that can drive farther on a tank of gas or a single charge-up. This is the future. It must be, to clean the air today and to forestall the damage of climate change.
San Diego Union-Tribune: The proposal by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, to provide grants from $2,660 to nearly $18,000 to about 400,000 California State University and University of California students so they can graduate with much lower student debt – and to offer free tuition to all first-year community college students – makes sense as a political gambit to appease the increasingly assertive progressive wing of the Democratic Party. But as public policy, it’s tough to defend.
Raleigh News & Observer: When public officials want to hide something, it tends to be because they have something to hide.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Don’t believe Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton when he says it’s no big deal that a federal court ruled state legislators used racial gerrymandering to draw congressional districts back in 2011.
Kansas City Star: A judge in Hawaii froze the Trump administration’s revised travel ban on Wednesday night, hours before it would have gone into effect, and we applaud that decision.
Take a guess
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who visited The Sacramento Bee editorial board on Wednesday, knows personally how hard it can be to comparison shop for health care, even without the “free market” reforms that will further disadvantage consumers under Trumpcare.
“I went in for a lab test the other day, and they asked me to sign a form that said I would pay for whatever amount was beyond my health insurance,” Jones said. “I said, ‘I’m not signing until I know what the test costs.’ ”
“They said, ‘We can’t tell you what the lab test costs.’ ” So Jones waited for a supervisor, who finally told him what test would be done, what testing companies around town charged to do it and how much of that price would be covered by his insurance.
Prices varied wildly, he said, and he finally extracted a promise from his provider to have the test done at the lab that was within his coverage limits. Unfortunately, he noted, few consumers can assert themselves with such confidence because so much of health care pricing is secret.
“I liken it to going into department store with a bag over your head,” Jones said. “You push your cart through the store, pull items off the shelves, hand the checkout person your credit card, they swipe it – bag’s still over your head, by the way – and then when you get out to the food court, you finally see what you bought and how much it costs. That’s basically what we do in the medical care space. To save your life, you can’t find out what this stuff costs.” – Shawn Hubler, @ShawnHubler
E.J. Dionne Jr.: Speaker Ryan is the dreamy utopian on health care.
Thomas L. Friedman: North Korea is Trump’s Cuban missile crisis.
Dana Milbank: The GOP masterminds behind Obamacare’s ‘death spiral.’
“No one has ever won a fight by stepping out of the ring. Walking away will only serve to embolden the tyrants.” – Jack Gerhardt, Rocklin
John Van de Kamp, 1936-2017
Former California Attorney General John Van de Kamp was a smart, ethical and honorable lawyer who called them as he saw them. He opposed capital punishment, but understood that his job was to follow the law, and led an office that argued several death penalty cases before the California Supreme Court.
As Los Angeles County District Attorney, Van de Kamp took the gutsy – but wrong – step of declining to prosecute Angelo Buono in the Hillside Strangler case. He concluded the evidence did not warrant a prosecution, even though he knew that it would damage his political aspirations.
Then Superior Court Judge Ronald M. George refused to dismiss the case, opening the way for then Attorney General George Deukmekjian’s deputies to take over, ultimately winning a conviction in nine murder counts in 1983.
Deukmejian became governor, George became California Supreme Court chief justice, and Van de Kamp lost the 1990 Democratic primary for governor to Dianne Feinstein. He acknowledged that he had made a mistake in the Buono case.