Healthy California Act Advances to Full Senate

May 26, 2017 (SACRAMENTO) SB 562, authored among others, by State Senator Toni Atkins from San Diego, took another step forward. Senator Ricardo Lara, from Los Angeles, the other sponsor, told the appropriations committee that health care consumes 14 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.

He added ““Health care spending is growing faster than the overall economy, and by 2025 will be 20 percent of national GDP.Today, Americans pay more than any industrialized nation for health care, almost $10,000 per person. Yet we do not have better health outcomes and we cover fewer people,”

The threat from the federal government to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the American Health Care Act, (AHCA), dubbed Trumpcare, will also reduce affordability. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office also expects upwards of 26 million Americans to lose health care by 2026. Many of those will be in California.

The bill will require the state to find $400 billion, per the very conservative cost estimate. It is more like $200 billion. And this may well mean specific tases to fund this program.

According to Nurses United:

But there are a number of savings that will accrue, said both Lara and Michael Lighty, policy director for the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, lead sponsor of the bill.

“This bill proposes to clamp down on healthcare costs in several ways,” said Lara. That includes eliminating the insurance industry’s administrative costs, waste, and profit, pooling health care funds in a publicly-run fund, (to) get the bargaining power of the seventh largest economy in the world,” and ensuring that “all Californians will have access to full scope care and preventative services.”

Family coverage premiums have skyrocketed by 234 percent in California since 2002, and the costs are significantly higher than the national average, Lighty testified.

Meanwhile, insurance companies in California have racked up nearly $27 billion in profits since 2011, according to the California Department of Managed Care, and employ over 100 executives with annual compensation packages over $100 million.

The Investors Business Daily is promising that this will be fiscal oblivion for the state. and a major disaster. They promise that the bill is not going to do what it promises and will lead to major tax increases, a disaster. Not surprisingly the insurance companies and some hospitals systems are opposed to it.

Similar bills have failed in the past. So even if this passes in the State Senate, where a vote is expected to pass on June 2, it could still be vetoed by Governor Edwin Brown.

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