California Single Payer Advances Out Of Committee

April 27, 2017 (SACRAMENTO) Senate Bill 562, The Healthy California Act, has advanced through committee. This bill, introduced by Senator Toni Atkins (D-39th SD) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-SD33) will provide Californians with a single payer health care system. From the executive summary:

This bill, the Healthy California Act, would create the Healthy California program to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state. The bill, among other things, would provide that the program cover a wide range of medical benefits and other services and would incorporate the health care benefits and standards of other existing federal and state provisions, including, but not limited to, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medi-Cal, ancillary health care or social services covered by regional centers for persons with developmental disabilities, Knox-Keene, and the federal Medicare program. The bill would require the board to seek all necessary waivers, approvals, and agreements to allow various existing federal health care payments to be paid to the Healthy California program, which would then assume responsibility for all benefits and services previously paid for with those funds.

This would be the first single-payer health care system in the country. In the implementation, it will use many of the lessons learned from the Affordable Care Act, which California fully embraced and implemented.

Among those in favor of the bill are California Nurses United, who have said in the past that this bill will cover every single person in the state. During the rally before the voting Senator Lara said: “healthcare is a human right for everyone.”

He added, “it’s been a long march just to get here. And you all know it.”

The bill passed out of committee in a bipartisan fashion, and will go further to more hearings. It is opposed by the insurance industry,.  It is also opposed by multiple chambers of commerce, as well as Kaiser Permamente At the bottom of the bill analysis you can find the full list o, both supporters, and opponents.

With this vote, the bill moves further in the process, and will get refined. If this reaches the governor and it is singled it will be the first state in the country to do this. It will also parallel Canada, who’s National Health system started in a single province as well. There have been previous attempts, in both California and other states. Vermont did not implement one in the end due to the cost. However, they are a much smaller state with a much smaller economy. Californian legislatures believe that the size of our economy will make it feasible. It will also make us more competitive for corporations.

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