Congratulations to my son Daniel and his fiance, Katie; they are tying the knot today!
American Independent Party
In the first piece, the OC Register reinforces my opposition to SB 696 in an opinion piece (for more on this bill, see MOORLACH UPDATE — 2019 Veto-Worthy Bills and Second 94 — September 21, 2019 and MOORLACH UPDATE — Last Day of Session — September 15, 2019).
Health Care For Just About All Californians
The Los Angeles Daily News provides a perspective of government-provided health care in California. My concerns are included in the second piece below (for more on the new mandate tax, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Health Insurance Mandate Penalty — June 25, 2019).
The Los Angeles Daily News published an Op-Ed by Marc Joffe that buttresses my opposition of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (also see MOORLACH UPDATE — CIRM and School District’s Group 5 — September 26, 2019). It’s the third piece below.
School Districts — Group 6
We’re down to the last half of the 944 school districts, providing data from 940 audited financial statement. We have divided the unrestricted net position by the population that the districts serve to provide a metric. The sixth group of 94 is provided in the chart at the end as the final piece.
Five of Orange County’s 27 school districts are in this grouping:
#473 Anaheim Elementary, down 10 positions
#487 Garden Grove Unified, down 84
#517 La Habra City Elementary, even with last year’s ranking
#530 Tustin Unified, up 44
#552 Ocean View, up 6
For links to the first five groupings, go to MOORLACH UPDATE — CIRM and School District’s Group 5 — September 26, 2019.
Voter ignorance no excuse for Senate Bill 696
The recently completed legislative session has been filled with far-ranging and troubling bills that take aim at independent contractors, limit charter schools and impose statewide rent controls.
But sometimes minor bills also reflect lawmakers’ lack of respect for the rights and intelligence of California citizens.
One such measure is Senate Bill 696, by Santa Ana’s Tom Umberg. It’s now on the governor’s desk.
SB 696 prohibits any political party from using the terms “no party preference,” “decline to state” or “independent” in its name. There aren’t any No Party Preference or Decline to State parties that might confuse voters. The clear goal is to force the American Independent Party of California, which is the registration choice of nearly 518,000 voters, to change its name after a survey showed that 73 percent of its voters thought they were choosing to be independents.
It’s certainly ironic that the third-largest party in progressive California — with more voters than all other minor parties combined — takes extremely conservative political positions. Its history ties back to the 1968 presidential campaign of Alabama’s segregationist Gov. George Wallace. But the party’s beginnings only reinforce the foolishness of this legislation, which raises serious free speech and association issues.
“The government can regulate speech when the words are being used to deceive individuals,” said Umberg, according to a newspaper report. But the party didn’t create its name to confuse voters. The state doesn’t force the Democratic or Republican parties to change their names because voters might mistakenly believe that those parties actually stand for democratic or republican principles.
“Banning a political party’s chosen name is a drastic remedy for the alleged ignorance of some voters, who can easily re-register themselves, if they so wish, up to and including on the day of the election,” wrote Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa. Indeed. It’s not the American Independent Party’s fault that many voters didn’t do their homework before choosing a party affiliation.
Gov. Gavin Newsom should veto the bill and save the state a potential constitutional challenge. Voter education, not legislation, is the solution.
Even in Deep Blue California, Medi-Cal expansion for undocumented adults doesn’t sit well with some
State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, looks over a stack of papers as the Senate plows through a variety of bills, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers are working to complete all business before the Legislature adjourns the 2017-18 session, Aug. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)By leosmith |
By Nicole Hayden and Deepa Bharath, The USC Center for Health Journalism Collaborative
It was a historic move: This summer, California became the first state in the country to offer free or low-cost health insurance to undocumented young adults who qualify.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the measure that will allow low-income undocumented adults ages 19 to 25 to qualify for Med-Cal, the state’s taxpayer-funded free and reduced-cost health insurance plan, starting Jan. 1. Around 138,000 people may be eligible for the coverage expansion. That’s just under 5% of the 3 million people without health insurance in the state. Immigrants, both documented and undocumented, make up 27% of California’s population of 40 million.
Although Democrats, who control the levers of power in the state, were largely united in their support for the expansion, the move was not without its detractors. Republican lawmakers and their constituents argue that the funds – the expanded coverage is expected to cost the state $98 million in 2020 — could be better spent elsewhere.
One question, going forward, is whether more centrist and independent voters will come to share those concerns. The issue of extending government-financed health insurance to undocumented residents has already become a source of heated debate in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, with moderate candidates and voters pushing back. But that divide has been largely absent among Democrats in the Golden State.
According to a statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, 63% of moderate voters supported the expansion.
President Donald Trump criticized the move, and quickly adopted it as a talking point in his reelection campaign. California doesn’t “treat their people as well as they treat illegal immigrants,” he said. “It’s very unfair to our citizens and we’re going to stop it, but we may need an election to stop it.”
While Democrats have the supermajority in the California Legislature, support for the coverage expansion was not as widespread among the public as it was in the Legislature. Political analysts say the matter could become a “flip issue” alongside other immigration-related spending concerns in 2020.
While some opponents say they want to push to repeal the measure, they admit it will be an uphill battle.
“My goal is to introduce the repeal, but California right now is so liberal,” said Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, a San Francisco-based free-market think tank that promotes “the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility” through policies that emphasize private initiative and limited government. Pipes said the Medi-Cal expansion is representative of a government that is too big.
“Even though many Republicans are upset with the extension, I don’t think it will make a difference,” she added. “The Dems will be in the power seat for several years to come. I wish that weren’t true. Realistically, I don’t see how the Republicans will break in on this, though.”
A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California in March showed about 63% of adult residents expressed support for expanding Medi-Cal to low-income undocumented young adults. That was up compared with 2015, when a statewide survey showed just 54% supported the idea.
However, voters also said that ensuring mental health services to those who need it and making health care more affordable were higher priorities than offering health insurance coverage to all Californians, according to a poll conducted by the California Health Care Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation in November 2018, when Newsom was elected.
Pipes said one of her objections to the Medi-Cal expansion was that many U.S. citizens are struggling to afford their health care coverage and the funds allocated to undocumented young adults instead could have helped U.S. citizens pay for their health care. Pipes also said those same U.S. citizens will now bear the tax burden of financing the Medi-Cal expansion, though they can’t even afford their own health care.
However, Pipes predicts the state will continue to widen its support for undocumented immigrants, despite these criticisms.
Supporters say the expansion makes economic sense. Currently, when undocumented individuals delay care, they can end up in the emergency room. If they are unable to pay, those costs are passed on to taxpayers.
California state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, said during a May Senate session that some of the people the expansion covers would have gotten sick whether the expansion occurred or not. She said the expansion was good policy because it is treating those people in a more cost-effective manner. Now those young adults will be able to get care at a primary care office rather than seeking more expensive care at an emergency room, which taxpayers would have ended up paying for.
State Sen. Bob Archuleta, D-Pico Rivera, said he hopes this expansion is just the start to what California might do, including exploring options to provide health coverage to all undocumented immigrants.
The expansion widens the gap between California’s approach to health care and the federal government’s tack under President Trump, who has rolled back various directives that were put in place under the Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, transgender protections and rules on what small businesses must provide for their employees.
Kay Hillery, 83, of Indian Wells, said she believes the state can’t afford to spend money on health coverage for undocumented young adults when Americans who are homeless, veterans and seniors still have great needs.
“We have a huge homeless population that need access to mental health care, and they can’t get it because it’s not funded,” she said. “We need to help our own people.”
Hillery, who identified herself as a Republican, lives in a part of Riverside County represented by state Sen. Jeff Stone. Stone, also a Republican, made similar arguments when the Legislature was considering the matter.
“We have a Medi-Cal system, a health care-delivery system, that is completely dysfunctional in the state of California. What we pay our physicians to take care of our most vulnerable populations through our Medi-Cal program is still so sub-standard that physicians won’t sign up to take the plan,” Stone said in a May Senate session.
Stone worries that providing health insurance for more undocumented individuals “will be a magnet that will further attract people to the state of California.” He said California “is willing to write a blank check for anyone who wants to be here.”
Paulette Cha, a health policy expert for the Public Policy Institute of California, said it is unlikely that the expansion will attract more undocumented individuals to California who are specifically seeking out health care.
“It’s worthwhile to compare this expansion of Medi-Cal to undocumented young adults to the 2016 expansion to undocumented children,” Cha said. “That was a much larger expansion, and we did not see an increase of immigrants because of that. The numbers have actually declined since then.”
In 2016, the first year undocumented children could enroll in Medi-Cal, just under 1 million kids were signed up. In 2017, that number was 1.59 million; in 2018, 1.57 million. If 2019 numbers continue their current trajectory, the year-end total would be nearly 1.54 million children.
Cha said immigration is not being pushed by health care but by gang violence and poverty in other countries.
But Stone said that given the state’s limited funds, providing better health care to citizens should be prioritized first, especially those who are homeless and living in deep poverty.
“That doesn’t mean we can’t be humanitarian and take care of other people,” he said. “But it means we need to take care of our citizens first.”
Other local Republican politicians agreed.
Expanding Medi-Cal to undocumented individuals and burdening the system further is not the answer, said Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner, a Republican who served in the state Assembly for six years and was a member of the Assembly Health Committee. He said Newsom’s proposal to expand Medi-Cal to undocumented adults is troubling.
“When we have finite resources, the priority should be to provide health care access to the folks who are here, have insurance and are following the rules,” he said. “If these people are unable to get proper access, then that’s simply not fair.”
The solution may lie in public-private collaborations, Wagner said.
“Hospitals, insurance companies and the government should work together,” he said. “The solutions we find should be economically viable.”
Others pushed back against other health care changes signed into law by Newsom. State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said he is against burdening Californians with the individual mandate or tax penalty for being uninsured.
“Families need health care, but because they cannot fit it into their budget, they are paying the tax penalty instead,” he said. “The individual mandate is regressive and has a much greater impact on a poor person’s budget than a wealthier person’s budget.”
Moorlach, who served on the board of Cal-Optima (Orange County’s Medi-Cal administrator) for four years, says the solution may lie in strengthening health care access through Medi-Cal. Moorlach also praised the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Clinics for its work in bringing health care to low-income and underserved families, including the uninsured.
“We have a model that is already working,” he said, adding that the focus should be on improving health care access to those who are already on Medi-Cal.
The Uncovered California project results from an innovative reporting venture – the USC Center for Health Journalism News Collaborative – which involves print and broadcast outlets across California, all reporting together on the state’s uninsured. Outlets include newspapers from the McClatchy Corp., Gannett Co., Southern California News Group, and La Opinion, as well as broadcasters at Univision and Capital Public Radio.
California’s stem cell center hasn’t delivered, shouldn’t get more taxpayer money
By MARC JOFFE
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has spent almost all of the $3 billion in bond proceeds California voters authorized in 2004 and seems likely to ask voters to approve more borrowing in 2020 to continue its stem cell research. But, before taxpayers give the institute a new blank check, Californians should consider how well the original $3 billion was spent, whether the case for a state-specific research institute still exists today, and whether general obligation bonds are appropriate for this project.
In 1998, a team at the University of Wisconsin extracted stem cells from human embryos for the first time. An article in the journal Science heralded the possibility that these cells could be used to repair blood, bone and other tissues. While scientists were excited, pro-life advocates expressed opposition to using stem cells derived from embryos for taxpayer-funded research. In 2001, then-President George W. Bush issued an executive order restricting federal funding for stem cell research. Under the order, public money could only be used for research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells; no new cell lines could be harvested.
In California, however, scientists bristled at this restriction and devised a way to circumvent it: create a stem cell research institute in the state, which could be funded by a $3 billion voter-approved bond. The bond campaign, led by Robert Klein, who would go on to serve as chairman of CIRM, raised $34 million to promote the measure with promises of miracle cures. Voters approved Proposition 71 in 2004 by a wide margin to fund CIRM.
Unfortunately, reality has not lived up to the hype. Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that CIRM funding had failed to produce a single federally-approved therapy. And a 2015 State Controller’s Office audit found the institute failed to take adequate steps to ensure that scientists reviewing grant applications did not have conflicts of interest. Given these results, State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, called Proposition 71 “the most egregious ballot measure abuse in recent state history.”
But despite the lack of results and management deficiencies, CIRM is planning to ask voters for another $5 billion in bond money in 2020. Before being swayed by more stories of sick children and others who might someday possibly benefit if CIRM research develops cures to diseases, voters should consider whether the case for a California-specific stem cell research center presented in 2004 still applies today.
Much has changed since the first ballot measure passed. First, in 2009, then-President Barrack Obama reversed his predecessor’s executive order and allowed federal funding for research on newly harvested stem cell lines. Although President Donald Trump has more recently restricted research on fetal tissue, he has not resurrected the Bush-era policy. Further, an alternative to embryonic stem cells has since emerged.
In 2007, a team of Japanese scientists showed that adult skin cells could be reprogrammed to act like embryonic stem cells by altering just four of their genes. With federal restrictions repealed and alternative sources of stem cells available, various private, non-profit and academic stem cell centers are now thriving across the country. And, in retrospect, it seems unnecessary for Californians to have spent so much money on embryonic stem cells.
Generally, these stem cell bonds are inconsistent with the rationale for issuing general obligation bonds. The state might reasonably issue bonds for infrastructure projects, which will benefit taxpayers over the long-term but California should not burden future taxpayers by raising venture capital for uncertain scientific research. While bridges and dams with useful lives of decades are good candidates for long-term financing, CIRM hasn’t produced long-term benefits yet. Instead of borrowing more money that future generations of Californians will be obligated to repay, it’s time to admit funding CIRM with borrowed money was a mistake.
Marc Joffe is senior policy analyst at Reason Foundation.
|472||Fallbrook Union Elementary||65,158||($843)||407||-65|
|473||Anaheim Union High||410,401||($845)||463||-10|
|476||Oxnard Union High||328,907||($850)||392||-84|
|478||Clay Joint Elementary||530||($852)||330||-148|
|480||Keppel Union Elementary||21,637||($859)||513||33|
|481||Alpine Union Elementary||19,700||($860)||551||70|
|482||Sonoma Valley Unified||40,860||($861)||458||-24|
|483||Cajon Valley Union||173,535||($862)||431||-52|
|484||John Swett Unified||15,188||($863)||538||54|
|485||San Ysidro Elementary||44,949||($864)||255||-230|
|486||Palo Verde Unified||26,885||($864)||525||39|
|487||Garden Grove Unified||290,408||($865)||403||-84|
|490||Chaffey Joint Union High||419,942||($870)||323||-167|
|491||Twin Hills Union Elementary||5,904||($874)||715||224|
|492||Sulphur Springs Union||63,113||($874)||469||-23|
|493||Bradley Union Elementary||465||($877)||729||236|
|494||West Covina Unified||60,241||($880)||522||28|
|495||Pacific Union Elementary||3,182||($883)||199||-296|
|497||Westside Union Elementary||74,234||($887)||528||31|
|501||Rancho Santa Fe Elementary||6,381||($898)||280||-221|
|502||Pioneer Union Elementary||10,716||($898)||556||54|
|503||East Nicolaus Joint Union High||2,752||($899)||617||114|
|504||Upper Lake Unified||8,821||($900)||769||265|
|505||Fall River Joint Unified||8,100||($901)||508||3|
|507||Orcutt Union Elementary||38,339||($902)||462||-45|
|513||El Centro Elementary||40,431||($913)||474||-39|
|516||La Mesa-Spring Valley||141,198||($920)||494||-22|
|517||La Habra City Elementary||54,504||($924)||517||0|
|518||Round Valley Unified||2,611||($924)||356||-162|
|522||Acton-Agua Dulce Unified||13,044||($926)||656||134|
|523||Corcoran Joint Unified||25,709||($927)||577||54|
|525||Elverta Joint Elementary||3,132||($931)||503||-22|
|526||Princeton Joint Unified||1,107||($931)||282||-244|
|528||Scott Valley Unified||5,185||($937)||689||161|
|529||Whittier City Elementary||69,883||($938)||468||-61|
|534||Lucerne Valley Unified||7,069||($944)||437||-97|
|536||Dry Creek Joint Elementary||58,003||($950)||634||98|
|537||Cuyama Joint Unified||1,337||($952)||749||212|
|538||Central Union Elementary||10,699||($953)||440||-98|
|539||Live Oak Unified||10,721||($953)||847||308|
|540||Western Placer Unified||55,354||($953)||596||56|
|542||Plumas Lake Elementary||6,507||($956)||865||323|
|543||Cold Spring Elementary||3,117||($957)||655||112|
|547||Apple Valley Unified||82,358||($963)||541||-6|
|548||Corning Union Elementary||14,753||($964)||628||80|
|549||Burrel Union Elementary||555||($964)||554||5|
|550||Ramona City Unified||38,057||($966)||540||-10|
|554||Ravenswood City Elementary||37,562||($971)||454||-100|
|555||San Pasqual Union Elementary||3,486||($972)||668||113|
|556||Thermalito Union Elementary||12,345||($972)||435||-121|
|557||Berryessa Union Elementary||86,424||($973)||416||-141|
|559||Sunnyside Union Elementary||2,385||($978)||497||-62|
|560||Little Lake City Elementary||34,942||($979)||564||4|
|561||William S. Hart Union High||276,559||($980)||611||50|
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