The federal health law aims to tackle the problem of high health care costs by providing financial rewards to providers who do a better job coordinating patient care. But one shining example of that future has been here in California for decades. It's Kaiser Permanente which is often touted as the nation’s best hope for bringing health care costs more in line with other developed nations.
Kaiser rose out of a utopian, industrialist dream. During the 1930s and 40s, Henry J. Kaiser wanted to make sure the workers at his Richmond shipyard were steady and strong.
The platform of California’s third largest political party -- the Green Party -- includes legalizing marijuana, ending the death penalty and offering free, community bicycles. Now, add this to the Party’s list of solemn commitments:
"We’re hoping the individual mandate will be struck down," says Barry Hermanson, the Green Party's candidate for California's 12th Congressional District. "It is extraordinary that now Congress is saying individuals must purchase a product from a private company. There’s no precedent for this."
Today marks the second anniversary of the federal health care law, and, unless you've been depriving yourself of news for the last several weeks, that same law will be front and center before the Supreme Court starting Monday. Here in California, uninsured Californians have a particular stake in the Court's actions.
Madera County is a largely conservative and agricultural area where one in every three people lacks coverage. While many people say they want the Supreme Court to throw out the federal health law, I found that many there are struggling to reconcile their political views with the basic need for health insurance.
It wasn’t that long ago that money flowed steadily to entrepreneurs who dreamt up whiz-bang medical devices. Hospitals souped up their surgical suites with robots or high-tech radiation machines for cancer treatment. Cost wasn’t an issue: They just got passed along to insurance companies, who passed them on to employers and patients