Did Americans hear anything in this week's House debate about health care reform they hadn't already heard?
The short answer: No. People who listened in got a rehash of arguments about the Patient Protection and Affordable Coverage Act, which President Barack Obama signed in March.
With centerpiece provisions not taking effect until 2014, House Republicans prematurely voted to repeal the law. But the Senate is unlikely to vote for repeal, and the president will not sign a reversal of his signature achievement in office.
The law remains in place. Despite the political theater in Washington, the real action is in the states. And here in the state capital, things are moving in the right direction.
The new Brown administration wants California to be the "lead car" in implementing the law – appropriate since California has the largest health care market and the largest number of uninsured residents (8.2 million in 2009). Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger laid the groundwork by signing the authorization in October to set up the first state "health benefits exchange" under the new federal law.
For a reminder why the federal law is needed, look no further than Blue Shield of California's recent announcement increasing premiums by 30 percent to 35 percent for some policyholders.
Fortunately, by January 2014, Californians who lose a job or have a job that doesn't offer benefits should be able to go to a website, compare plans and buy coverage – and access federally funded subsidies to make coverage affordable.
To read the complete editorial, visit www.sacbee.com.