The County of Los Angeles released a new video yesterday claiming to detail how it is dealing with healthcare reform. Unfortunately, the details were non-existent and the information did little to help Angelenos understand the changes to come.
Los Angeles County wants to, and needs to, provide more comprehensive care than just emergency triage. The reason health insurance has evolved into health care is that it is far cheaper and effective to treat medical problems earlier rather than later. In order to keep costs from rising more astronomically than they have already, insurers started paying for services before they became catastrophic.
Los Angeles attracts a large number of immigrants from other countries and other states. The climate makes it more welcoming to homeless populations than other regions. Both of these facts increase the county's costs in treating the uninsured.
The underlying message of the video was that the County anticipates more revenue from serving a higher proportion of insured individuals. This was couched in terms of increasing number of appointments, without stating how this expanded capacity was achieved. Whether that will actually happen is still unknown.
It is possible that the new tax for the uninsured will not provide enough incentive for people to be covered and federal revenues funneled to local sources will be sparse.