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Gov. Crist's victory for unaffordable underinsurance

Legislature passes health plan pushed by Gov. Crist to cover uninsured

By Josh Hafenbrack
Sun-Sentinel.com
May 3, 2008

Delivering on Gov. Charlie Crist's top election-year priority, the Florida Legislature on Friday approved a health insurance package to extend no-frills coverage to the state's 3.8 million uninsured.

The plans -- which aren't the "Cadillac of coverage," as Crist concedes -- would cover some health screenings, doctor visits and office surgeries, but not medical attention that requires a specialist or prolonged hospital stays.

Crist called the health-care package "historic legislation" that will be a model for the rest of the nation.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/sfl-flfhealth0503sbmay03,0,1207424....

And...

New Florida Law Allows Low-Cost Health Policies

By Kevin Sack
The New York Times
May 22, 2008

With considerable fanfare, Gov. Charlie Crist traveled the length of his state on Wednesday to sign a bill aimed at providing low-cost health coverage to the uninsured by allowing the sale of stripped-down insurance policies.

... an insurance company could, for instance, choose to limit the number of days of hospitalization it will cover or place a dollar cap on reimbursing certain services.

But the best part, as Mr. Crist, a Republican, explained at news conferences in Miami, Tampa and Tallahassee, is that the law "doesn't cost taxpayers a dime."

Mr. Crist... said he was optimistic that uninsured Floridians would buy the plans...

"Even if it's one person," Mr. Crist said, "it would be a success..."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/22/us/22crist.html?_r=1&ref=health&oref=slogin

Florida Senate SB 2534 "Cover Florida Health Care Access Program:"
http://www.flsenate.gov/cgi-bin/view_page.pl?Tab=session&Submenu=1&FT=D&File=sb2534er.html&Directory=session/2008/Senate/bills/billtext/html/

Comment:

By Don McCanne, MD

This weekend, Florida's Gov. Charlie Crist travels to Sen. John McCain's ranch in Arizona for further vetting as a member of the short list of potential nominees for vice-president. With him he takes his health reform legislative victory that can serve as "a model for the rest of the nation."

Some model. It would reduce insurance premiums by stripping down benefits through measures such as limiting hospitalization and specialized services and by capping payments. Since this "doesn't cost taxpayers a dime," the premiums would still be unaffordable for most individuals currently without coverage. Obviously this model will not work for individuals who have health care needs.

But it might work for one person, and Gov. Crist says that it would then be a success. But as a model for the nation, isn't that setting a low standard? Or maybe he means fifty people - one in each state.