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California State Government November 5, 2002 Election
Smart Voter

Summary of my Platform

By David I. Sheidlower

Candidate for Insurance Commissioner; State of California

This information is provided by the candidate
Insurance companies aggregate the risks faced by individuals and businesses and spread that risk across all similar policy holders. They derive profit from charging more than they expect to pay in claims in a given year. In addition, they are mandated to maintain reserves so that they are able to pay policy holders. In order to maximize profit, insurance companies choose to aggregate these individuals in specific ways that allow them to charge higher premiums based on characteristics other than overall risk.

This is most apparent in the area of health care where the price for the same family of four differs depending on how they are trying to obtain their coverage. If the family is obtaining coverage through a large employer, insurance companies will have them pay one price; if they are buying through PacAdvantage--the California small business Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperative--they will pay another, and, if they are trying to purchase the coverage as individuals, they will pay yet another price. That is if they are even able to obtain coverage as individuals. a recent (June 2001) study funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation and conducted by the Georgetown University Institute for Health Care Research and Policy found "The individual health insurance market is unpredictable, inconsistent and expensive. The benefits you receive and what you pay depend on your personal circumstances and the reaction of individual insurance carriers".

To promote fair and socially just access to insurance I advocate the following:

Workers Compensation Insurance This is an area where reform is long overdue. Because of the huge amount of money involved in the Worker's Compensation Insurance industry there are opportunities to work with these carriers to create, to paraphrase E.F. Schumacher, a workplace "as if people mattered". Specifically, efforts to comply with the American with Disabilities Act, efforts to create ergonomically appropriate work spaces and Worker's Compensation interests must be brought together more concretely so that true gains can be realized in creating safe, healthy work environments for everyone.

Auto Insurance

Realistically, a California more dependent on mass transit than personally owned automobiles is a remote, far-in-the-future possibility. Even in a world of zero-emission vehicles, people would need auto insurance. And, since auto insurance is, appropriately, mandated by State law for anyone who drives, it is the responsibility of the State to see that such insurance is affordable for working people. To this end, it is time to revive the effort to have no-fault auto insurance in California. In addition, the office of Insurance Commissioner can perform cross-carrier studies to examine whether alternative fuel vehicles should be covered at lower rates.

Long Term Care Insurance It is important that we become aggressive in educating the public about Long Term Care (LTC) insurance. We should also be pro-actively examining the ways that Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) is currently provided in places with more experience in it than we have. Alberta, Canada has developed reimbursement strategies for LTCI that attempt to reward keeping residents as healthy as possible.

Health Insurance The Republicans and Democrats are in denial about the need for Single Payer Health Care. Medicare, MediCal and the health care provided our armed services ARE Single Payer health care systems. I would support the continued move to Single Payer provision of universal health care.

In order to do this, we must move towards having Californians buy services rather than insurance when it comes to routine care and, perhaps, buy insurance to cover catastrophic problems. For our working class, we must be sure that health care and worker's compensation insurance companies are working together for the worker's benefit.

Disaster Coverage We need to cooperate with other states on a multi-regional approach to regional disaster coverage. There may be legal obstacles to this. If this proves to be the case, we need to at least provide for more public awareness of the scenarios in which the limits of earthquake and/or flood coverage would become disappointing if not devastating to homeowners. In addition , we need to make sure that those that offer Earthquake insurance are taking into account the subsidy they will receive from the Federal government if an affected area is declared a disaster area and becomes eligible for Federal funds.

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ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: April 22, 2002 14:27
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