June 2, 2017
﻿The movement for single payer is for real, and its winning in California.
﻿The state Senate voted 23 to 14 on Thursday in favor of SB 562, a single-payer proposal that would guarantee universal health care to all Californians. What we did today was really approve the concept of a single-payer system in California, declared state Senator Ricardo Lara, a key advocate for the bill, following the vote.
California Senators have sent an unmistakable message today to every Californian and people across the nation, declared RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United, which led the fight for the Healthy California Act.
We can act to end the nightmare of families who live in fear of getting sick and unable to get the care they need due to the enormous cost, DeMoro continued. Weve shown that healthcare is not only a humanitarian imperative for the nation, it is politically feasible, and it is even the fiscally responsible step to take.
Thats true. According to a review of a new NNU-sponsored study by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst: SB 562 would produce substantial savings for households in healthcare costs as a share of their income, and California businesses, which would also see reduced payroll costs for health care expenditures.
The California proposal still must be approved by the California state Assembly and, eventually, by Governor Jerry Brown. Budget plans must be developed. The fight is far from over. But a hurdle has been cleared and DeMoro is right to say that: This is a banner day for California, and a moral model for the nation.
How would this change how I get healthcare?
- No more coverage through work or through federal public programs it would all be in one state-subsidized plan.
- Virtually all healthcare costs would be covered.
Whether youre insured through an employer, through Covered California or on public programs such as Medi-Cal, as long as youve established California residency regardless of legal immigration status you would be enrolled in a single plan, which the bills backers call the Healthy California plan. That would eliminate the need for employer-provided plans and other commercial options.
Michael Lighty, policy director for the California Nurses Assn., put it bluntly: Youll never have to deal with an insurance company again.
Benefits would be generous, including all inpatient and outpatient care, dental and vision care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and prescription drugs. Patients would be able to see any healthcare provider of their choosing.