Friday, September 14, 2007

The future of healthcare?

I must say, I've come to the decision that perhaps healthcare should be a state issue, or even a city issue. Roughly a year or so after Massachusetts vowed to proved healthcare for all of its citizens, San Francisco is now rolling out a plan to insure all of its city-dwellers, sometime within the next 2 years.

Healthy San Francisco provides uninsured San Franciscans with access to 14 city health clinics and eight affiliated community clinics, with an emphasis on prevention and chronic diseases. It is, however, not the same as insurance because it does not cover residents once they leave the city.

After a phased start-up, the city plans to bring private medical networks into the program next year, expanding the choice of doctors. Until November, enrollment will be limited to those living below the federal poverty line ($10,210 for a single person; $20,650 for a family of four). Then it will open to any resident who has been uninsured for at least 90 days, regardless of income or immigration status.

It's progressive, it's expansive, and ultimately, it's totally voluntary (you don't have to live in San Francisco if you don't like it). It seems a bit ironic that it's happening in one of the most expensive cities in the country to live in, but maybe only a city with a lot of wealth could afford this type of program. But I like the sound of it. I'll be curious to see how it all pans out.

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