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12/21/09 Health Care Rx for Oakland

on December 21, 2009

After a flurry of political developments (and snow) in Washington D.C. this weekend, Congress is on the verge of passing a health care bill that would provide coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans. Liberals bemoan the bill’s lack of a government-administered “public option” for health care, while conservatives complain it will create skyrocketing deficits and unprecedented federal intrusion. No one–not the suddenly famous Olympia Snowe, the hard-bargaining Joe Lieberman, or Barack Obama himself–is getting exactly what they want from health care reform. But America’s been officially tinkering with the way it provides health care since at least the days of Theodore Roosevelt, so perhaps this kind of dissatisfaction is to be expected.

Health care reform is big story everywhere, of course, but maybe even more so in North Oakland: home of Kaiser Permanente, Children’s Hospital, Summit Medical Center and the whole “Pill Hill” complex. A comprehensive bill will affect the local economy in signficant, yet-to-be determined ways, and also has the potential to change the way we all receive treatment from our doctors.

Oakland North is looking at health care issues with cover stories during the next two days. Today, Lauren Callahan examines Healthy San Francisco, San Francisco’s health care program for the uninsured. Is it an option for Oakland? Tomorrow, we run Puck Lo’s multimedia piece on what the House health bill would mean for specific individuals in North Oakland.

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