CA Gov. Newsom expected to help single-payer healthcare proposal


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Members of the California Nurses Association and their supporters rallied at the state Capitol in June 2017 to demand a single-<a class=payer health plan.” title=”Members of the California Nurses Association and their supporters rallied at the state Capitol in June 2017 to demand a single-payer health plan.” loading=”lazy”/>

Members of the California Nurses Association and their supporters rallied at the state Capitol in June 2017 to demand a single-payer health plan.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom made guaranteed health care a central part of his gubernatorial campaign about four years ago, specifically promising to implement a single-payer system that would give every resident free access to treatment. full.

In an April 2018 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, however, Newsom did what he has done on many issues throughout his tenure as governor: He blurred his position by telling the newspaper’s editorial board that “it’s not an act that would happen by the next governor’s signature. There’s a lot of mythology about it.

Spurred on by this confusion, California’s Blue Shield and several health-industry super PACs made six-figure donations to his campaign — relationships that turned into tens of millions of dollars in so-called government-imposed payments. Newsom’s name during the pandemic. He rewarded the kindness of industry with massive untendered government contracts that resulted in botched testing services and underutilized vaccination programs.

It’s unclear which version of the governor will emerge on the vital issue of guaranteed health care this year. One piece of a legislative package to create a single-payer system called CalCare, funded by a combination of tax increases, will hit the floor of the state Assembly by the end of the month. While many hope public pressure will compel Newsom to renew his promise, his actions as governor inspire skepticism.

Still, California’s top elected official can help foster the statewide discussion he owes to the 40 million residents who are experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic as well as the depredations of a private sector. profit-driven health care. With the Newsom administration’s support for further consideration of Assembly Bill 1400 and an Assembly vote to keep it alive, lawmakers and the public could begin an honest debate that is more critical than ever for the health and well-being of every California resident.

An estimated 3.2 million people in California do not have health insurance. Many more face the crushing rigors of a private system that overcomplicates essential medical care and overcharges patients for lifesaving procedures and prescriptions. Business is generally good for the $4.1 trillion US healthcare industry, which grew more than 9% in 2020 and accounts for about a fifth of the national economy.

The advantages of a single-payer system, such as the elimination of excessive copayments, deductibles and prescription costs, are clear. The idea is also popular, supported by more than 6 in 10 Americans, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Opponents of single-payer are pushing a false narrative that serves commercial interests rather than people in need of care.

In 2017, the state Senate Appropriations Committee estimated that operating a single-payer system would cost $400 billion per year, requiring an additional $200 billion in new taxes to cover the cost. While the prospect of new taxes can be unsettling, California residents already spend $367 billion on health care each year, with taxpayers bearing 70% of that, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Replacing employer-provided insurance may not be as drastic a change to our paychecks or tax returns as some suggest.

This month, Newsom proposed a much cheaper Medi-Cal extension that would provide access to care for undocumented immigrants and — with the help of political semantics — allow California to claim universal health care. This is a necessary and long overdue measure to protect vulnerable communities that fill critical parts of California’s workforce, which has seen higher death rates and lower vaccination rates throughout. pandemic, in part due to exclusion from the healthcare system.

California’s Democratic supermajority will likely pass this proposal with ease. The real act of political courage would be to support AB 1400, which enjoys far greater legislative support than previous proposals. His supporters include Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who let the last single-payer proposal die in 2017.

Perhaps Newsom could take his own advice that year. Like him tweeted“I’m sick of politicians saying they support single-payer but it’s too soon, too expensive, or someone else’s problem.”

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This story was originally published January 21, 2022 5:00 a.m.

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