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Universal Health Coverage

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OPINION
April 19, 2003
Re "The Symptoms of a Sick Society," Commentary, April 13: John Balzar provides a good accounting of the crisis in health-care coverage in the U.S. But it's time to move beyond this. As he suggests, a government-run, single-payer system is the only way to achieve universal coverage and good outcomes without increasing per capita spending. We must now begin to address the obstacles to enactment of a single-payer system. The principal impediment is the influence of the corporate middlemen who siphon off tremendous amounts of the money intended for health care but add little or no value to the product.
ARTICLES BY DATE
OPINION
November 21, 2013
Re "Healthcare enrollment rises sharply," Nov. 19 Persuading young and healthy people to buy insurance shouldn't be so hard. They will, of course, need that healthcare when they are old, so perhaps they should be promised lower premiums in the future as a reward for paying into the system when they are young. When they're older, they'll be glad they had the foresight to be a little community-minded. As a society, there are some things for which it makes sense to pool resources to benefit all for the long term.
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BUSINESS
April 7, 2009 | Lisa Girion and Noam N. Levey
Even as President Obama toured Europe his administration pressed its healthcare reform campaign Monday in Los Angeles with a forum co-hosted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who lost his bid in California to make many of the changes now on the table in Washington. Reform is overdue, the governor said. "No one can look at our healthcare system and say that the system is fair or a good return on what we spend, and this consensus can help us pass significant bipartisan reforms into law."
BUSINESS
July 31, 2012 | By David Lazarus
Mitt Romney established universal health coverage in Massachusetts with an individual mandate to buy insurance. But he says he'll overturn an identical system at the federal level. He also has dismissed the idea of a Medicare-for-all insurance system in the United States. Yet the presumptive Republican nominee-to-be is hailingĀ Israel's healthcare system as a model of efficiency and effectiveness. And what do you know - Israel has something like a Medicare-for-all system. Romney praised Israel for spending just 8% of its gross domestic product on healthcare while still remaining a "pretty healthy nation.
BUSINESS
June 14, 2009
Re: "Medical bills tied to more bankruptcies," June 4: There is no doubt that we need universal health coverage, but the private insurers have already demonstrated that they don't protect people from financial ruin because of medically related expenses. We need universal, single-payer healthcare, such as Medicare. Everyone would have coverage and nobody would suffer bankruptcy as a result of medical bills. It would not cost more than is spent per patient now because the most expensive patients are seniors over age 65, and they're already covered by Medicare.
NEWS
October 17, 1996
Regarding Robin Abcarian's column "A Few Surprises on the First Lady Front" (Oct. 2), about the relative popularity of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Dole: Abcarian could have mentioned the effect of millions upon millions of dollars spent by Republicans and their health care backers on TV ads demonizing Hillary since 1992. Hillary's crime? The audacity of wanting to get universal health coverage for all U.S. citizens--something the other industrialized nations of the world have had for decades.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 18, 1987
Preventive health care is the greatest economy in reducing human suffering and health-care costs. Canada provides universal health coverage for all its people, costing only 8.5% of its gross national product, while the United States already pays 11% of its gross national product for its inadequate and unbalanced health-care systems. Now AB 2020, the California Health Insurance Program, provides the opportunity to fund early detection and treatment for all Californians through a combination of private health insurance, personal payments, and government contributions, depending on financial status and need.
NATIONAL
July 27, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate Christopher J. Dodd proposed a universal health coverage plan Thursday with benefits matching those given to federal workers. The plan, released by Dodd as he starts a three-day campaign swing through Iowa, would be phased in over four years and would create an insurance package offered to businesses and individuals with premiums based on their ability to pay. The system would offer a variety of plans tailored to individual needs.
NATIONAL
September 17, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is unveiling a sweeping healthcare proposal today that would require every American to carry health insurance and offer federal subsidies to help reduce the cost of coverage, her campaign said. With a price tag of about $110 billion a year, Clinton's American Health Choices Plan represents her first major effort to achieve universal health coverage since 1994, when the plan she authored during her husband's first term collapsed.
BUSINESS
January 7, 2007
Regarding "Doctors seek to sue Blue Cross," Dec. 27: As your article noted, insurance industry profits continue to soar while patients worry about getting dropped just before, during or after treatment. Blue Cross says it does so only when errors are discovered in the policy application. Hmm. The cure for this shame is all too simple for legislators to comprehend (probably because of the incredible insurance provided by the state). I propose a new law: When someone applies to an insurer for coverage, the first payment toward coverage makes the policy legally binding.
BUSINESS
May 24, 2012 | Los Angeles Times
Blue Shield of California's longtime chairman and chief executive, Bruce Bodaken, will retire at year's end, punctuating a career marked by praise for his early support of universal health coverage and criticism of his company's repeated rate hikes. Bodaken, 60, will leave at the end of December, and Paul Markovich, 45, currently chief operating officer at the nonprofit health insurer, will take over as CEO. The San Francisco company's 10-member board will elect a new, independent chairman this year.
BUSINESS
June 14, 2009
Re: "Medical bills tied to more bankruptcies," June 4: There is no doubt that we need universal health coverage, but the private insurers have already demonstrated that they don't protect people from financial ruin because of medically related expenses. We need universal, single-payer healthcare, such as Medicare. Everyone would have coverage and nobody would suffer bankruptcy as a result of medical bills. It would not cost more than is spent per patient now because the most expensive patients are seniors over age 65, and they're already covered by Medicare.
BUSINESS
April 7, 2009 | Lisa Girion and Noam N. Levey
Even as President Obama toured Europe his administration pressed its healthcare reform campaign Monday in Los Angeles with a forum co-hosted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who lost his bid in California to make many of the changes now on the table in Washington. Reform is overdue, the governor said. "No one can look at our healthcare system and say that the system is fair or a good return on what we spend, and this consensus can help us pass significant bipartisan reforms into law."
NATIONAL
September 17, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is unveiling a sweeping healthcare proposal today that would require every American to carry health insurance and offer federal subsidies to help reduce the cost of coverage, her campaign said. With a price tag of about $110 billion a year, Clinton's American Health Choices Plan represents her first major effort to achieve universal health coverage since 1994, when the plan she authored during her husband's first term collapsed.
NATIONAL
July 27, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate Christopher J. Dodd proposed a universal health coverage plan Thursday with benefits matching those given to federal workers. The plan, released by Dodd as he starts a three-day campaign swing through Iowa, would be phased in over four years and would create an insurance package offered to businesses and individuals with premiums based on their ability to pay. The system would offer a variety of plans tailored to individual needs.
BUSINESS
January 7, 2007
Regarding "Doctors seek to sue Blue Cross," Dec. 27: As your article noted, insurance industry profits continue to soar while patients worry about getting dropped just before, during or after treatment. Blue Cross says it does so only when errors are discovered in the policy application. Hmm. The cure for this shame is all too simple for legislators to comprehend (probably because of the incredible insurance provided by the state). I propose a new law: When someone applies to an insurer for coverage, the first payment toward coverage makes the policy legally binding.
OPINION
November 21, 2013
Re "Healthcare enrollment rises sharply," Nov. 19 Persuading young and healthy people to buy insurance shouldn't be so hard. They will, of course, need that healthcare when they are old, so perhaps they should be promised lower premiums in the future as a reward for paying into the system when they are young. When they're older, they'll be glad they had the foresight to be a little community-minded. As a society, there are some things for which it makes sense to pool resources to benefit all for the long term.
NATIONAL
January 15, 2004 | Vicki Kemper, Times Staff Writer
Because the growing number of Americans without health insurance results in unnecessary sickness and death, weakens the nation's economy and undermines the entire health care system, the federal government must begin working now to expand coverage to all Americans by 2010, the Institute of Medicine said Wednesday. The nonpartisan organization, which advises the government on health issues, declined to endorse a specific strategy for health care reform.
OPINION
April 19, 2003
Re "The Symptoms of a Sick Society," Commentary, April 13: John Balzar provides a good accounting of the crisis in health-care coverage in the U.S. But it's time to move beyond this. As he suggests, a government-run, single-payer system is the only way to achieve universal coverage and good outcomes without increasing per capita spending. We must now begin to address the obstacles to enactment of a single-payer system. The principal impediment is the influence of the corporate middlemen who siphon off tremendous amounts of the money intended for health care but add little or no value to the product.
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