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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Only In California

I quote from the official voters’ guide for June’s primary election:

Democratic Party candidate statements:

Cruz Bustamonte

I will be an Insurance Commissioner who will make rates affordable, guarantee access to insurance, and bring health insurance under the regulatory authority of that office. But I’m starting my campaign someplace different. With myself. Insurance rates reflect not just the behavior of insurance companies, but the behavior of Californians as well. And some of that behavior is not very good. Some people commit insurance fraud, some drive recklessly, or under the influence. And some people don’t take steps to protect their children or their homes or their workplace. But the biggest factor in insurance costs is people not taking care of their health. In my case, it’s my weight. A study by the US Department of Health’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that obesity in California costs $7.7 billion a year. I want to become an example to others to lead healthier lives by losing weight myself. Fighting the obesity epidemic will lower insurance costs. I will keep my progress and program on my website. (Unlike other political websites, this will be a site dedicated to noncommercial health and nutrition information.) If you or someone you know would like to start trying to live a healthier life, join me at “StartWithCruz.com.”

The voters’ guide is meant to provide a forum for candidates to briefly state the main points of their platforms. The insurance commissioner is an elected office in California, and “the Bustinator” is the Democratic Party’s chosen candidate for the position. Although the weight loss website is pretty cool, I can’t believe this is the main thrust of his campaign!

I work in health insurance in California and deal with some basic issues every day. California’s head resides under several swords of Damocles; a high percentage of Californians without health insurance, emergency rooms closing throughout the state, poor access to healthcare in rural areas, insidious health insurance related fraud, and health insurance contribution increases outpacing citizens’ wage and salary increases. Auto, home and liability insurance in the state each have their own litany of woes as well. Under the current do-nothing Republican as well as previous Democratic administrations, these problems have been ignored and allowed to fester, while wage earners watch increasing proportions of their income eaten up by health care and auto insurance costs, supporting record California HMO profits in the last few years.

I admit I don’t have the answers, but come on Democrats, at least attempt to propose some kind of solutions, beyond saying that the commissioner will regulate insurance. Of course, if you’ve already been richly paid by the insurance industry to not do that, then keep up the good work. Just blather on about your weight problem, and ignore the real issues.

You are making the Peace and Freedom Party look like a good deal.

Their candidate for insurance commissioner, Tom Condit of Berkeley (surprise, he’s from Bizerkeley) proposes;

I advocate putting human need before insurance company profits. Let's publicly fund and manage a single system of quality health care for all, a state basic auto liability plan, and a single workers' compensation fund. I will fight discrimination based on race, sex, age, or geography.

These may not all prove to be great ideas, but these are ideas.

Cruz – I completely agree it’s for the best that you go on a diet. I hope your website helps others take better care of themselves. Hopefully this November, you will be freed from the encumbrances of public service, and you’ll be able to devote your full time efforts to fitness. Who knows, maybe you'll be the next Richard Simmons!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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