General Topics Health Care

Only Single-Payer Can Save Us

Here’s some statistics for you to chew on:

  • Currently, health care costs account for approximately 20 percent of our GDP. It is estimated that by 2025 that number will increase to 25 percent. By 2040, it will be 34 percent.
  • By 2040, the number of uninsured will jump from 42 million today to 76 million.
  • From 1996 to 2006, the cost of health care in this country has doubled.
  • Today there are more than 1,300 insurance companies operating in the US.
  • A recent study found that insured families are paying a “hidden tax of more than $1,000” a year to help cover the cost of treating the uninsured.

These are stark figures and they only begin to paint a picture of just how much trouble we’re in with our current health care system.

Among the industrialized world, patients in the US pay more for their health care than any other. Among the industrialized world, the US is home to more uninsured than any other. And, according to studies conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Commonwealth Fund, not only do we pay more for health care than any other first world country, but that high cost doesn’t necessarily translate to better care.

Economy HI Politics

Furloughs Not Layoffs

Its been a while since I posted anything on this blog, so my commentary and critical thinking skills (not to mention research) might be a little shabby. I’m going to try to start write to this blog at least as often as my other, so hopefully I’ll improve….

There seems to have been two major topics of discussion at the Capitol this past session: Civil Unions and the state budget. By the close of session, neither, it seems, was sufficiently addressed. So, at least for the later, a special session will have to be called. One major topic to be addressed? Lingle’s attempt to cut the salaries of state workers.

Oh, wait. Sorry. I meant to say furlough.

Lingle is claiming, with the legal back up from her AG, that she can furlough state workers without having to negotiate under collective bargaining. I need to read the AG’s letters to the House Speaker’s office (after which I should be able to write a follow up!), but my initial understanding of the Governor’s argument is that since collective bargaining is a function for salaries and benefits, and since furloughs don’t fall under those categories, there’s not requirement for her to sit down across a table from the state employee’s union.

What I find odd about this particular argument is that she’s selling it to the public as an alternative to lay-offs, which wouldn’t fall under collective bargaining either. It seems to me her suggested furloughs are much, much closer to pay cuts than they are to lay-offs, it should fall under the requirements pertaining to collective bargaining. 

It makes sense. At least to me. No one will be losing their job, but they’ll be working less, thus making less. I don’t know about you, but that sounds suspiciously similar to a pay cut to me.

It sounds like both the Governor’s Office and the majority at the legislature are gearing up for a battle, not to mention those preparing to file a lawsuit against the State should Lingle move forward with her plan.

The ledge may not be in session, but its shaping up to be an interesting summer, nonetheless.

Stay tuned.