Healthcare groups renew push for single-payer system in California at at
Tue Feb 20 10:23:50 PST 2018



February 08, 2018


Healthcare groups renew push for single-payer system in California



le-payer-system-california> Healthcare Finance



By Jeff Lagasse


Healthcare professionals, labor groups and small business owners have
renewed the push for a single-payer healthcare system in California,
delivering testimony in Sacramento Wednesday to the State Assembly's Select
Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage.


The focus of the testimony was SB 562, a single-payer bill that was approved
last year but then shelved. The bill would establish a system by which the
state would pay for all healthcare and essentially cut out insurance
companies. Taxes would increase, but supporters maintained that would be
offset by the elimination of insurance premiums, copays and other costs.


There are some legal hurdles that would make switching to a single-payer
system difficult, according to a report from local public news outlet KPCC.
The rules that govern the Affordable Care Act, for example, are all federal,
so any changes would require negotiation with the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services.


California's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, relies on both state and federal
funding, and the feds have the final say. Plus, there's Medicare: It's a
federal program, so California can't make changes to eligibility, financing
or benefits without a thumbs-up from Washington. 


There are also a couple of state laws that would make things thorny -- such
as Prop 4, a 1979 law that limits how much tax money the state can keep.
Above a certain threshold, funds have to be returned to taxpayers, and it
would require an amendment to the law to make healthcare exempt.


Supporters of the bill, including the California Physicians Alliance, say it
would be worth the effort. One of those supporters, economist Robert Pollin
of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told the committee Wednesday
that the state would have to raise about $100 million in additional funds to
cover the cost of single-payer, but that most in the state would end up
paying less for healthcare because insurance-related expenses would be


Other supporters include Health Access California, the California Immigrant
Policy Center, Small Business Majority and the California Labor Federation.


Opponents of the bill -- including the California Chamber of Commerce and
the California Medical Association -- say there's no responsible way to pay
for a single-payer system.


The committee is expected to produce a report by this spring with
recommendations on how to proceed.




Jeff Wells
Deputy Editor, CAL/AAEM News Service


Brian Potts MD, MBA
Managing Editor, CAL/AAEM News Service

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