California State Assemblymember David Hadley (R-South Bay) took office as the representative of Assembly District 66 after one of the most competitive Assembly races in California. After narrowly placing first in the 2014 top-two primary, Hadley unseated incumbent Democrat Al Muratsuchi by just 706 votes.
The loss of Muratsuchi's seat was one of a handful of Democratically-controlled seats that led to the loss of a supermajority in the Legislature.
The cost of health care will continue to be a major issue in the current legislative session. According to Hadley, seniors were the first to feel the brunt of rising costs.
In an interview for IVN, he addressed the issue and how the Legislature might help:
"California is among the highest-cost states in the country – high housing costs, high sales taxes, gas taxes, taxes on insurance premiums, cap-and-trade taxes. Part of what we need to do to make California more cost-effective for seniors are policies that will benefit all Californians" - Asm. David Hadley, Assembly District 66
Hadley argues that part of the solution is to find new opportunities where seniors can cut costs. One possibility is to broaden their ability to complete 1031 tax-free real estate exchanges. This enables someone to move into new housing and still benefit from Proposition 13, which helps keep property taxes low for long-time homeowners.According to the
California Healthcare Foundation, California health insurance premiums have increased by 9.8 percent since 2011 -- a reality that is catching many seniors on a fixed income by surprise.
These costs continue to rise despite the creation of Covered California, the state-run health insurance exchange that has been in place since 2014. The program is a result of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010.
Hadley, who serves as vice-chair of the Aging and Long-Term Care Committee, says Covered California isn't working.
"The objective of Covered California was to lower insurance costs across the board, and so far it has failed in that objective," he argues.
At the national level, the discussion on health care has essentially reached a standstill. Congressional Republicans have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a full repeal, not just parts of the law) six times since it passed in 2010. However, Hadley thinks a more pragmatic approach will reap tangible results for Californians.
"I want to work constructively with Committee Chairwoman Cheryl Brown and my fellow committee members. One way for legislators such as myself to work in a constructive and bipartisan fashion is to listen before we do too much talking." - Asm. David Hadley, Assembly District 66
A plurality of voters in Assembly District 66 are Democratic -- 39 percent to the Republicans' 33 percent -- but there is also a sizeable group of unaffiliated voters (approximately 18%). Therefore, in order to win the election, Hadley had to appeal to voters outside his party to beat Muratsuchi in a district once considered safe for incumbents.
"I spoke to the issues that greatly concern most voters in the South Bay," Hadley said. "Like my friends and neighbors, I am focused on ensuring that our South Bay schools remain strong, and I believe in fair funding and local control for our public schools. Our district was rocked in 2014 by Toyota’s announcement that it is leaving Torrance for Texas. I will work to ensure that state policy helps businesses of all sizes grow and thrive in the state."
Hadley is in a position to improve the state of health care in California in his first term. While federal policies draw clear lines as to what can be done, California still has opportunities to ease the process of attaining proper care.
Making the cost of living in the state more manageable will help ease the burden of rising health care costs. Expect action to be taken from Hadley and the Long-Term Care Committee when this year's session gets rolling.
Photo Credit: DavidHadley.com