California lawmaker lays out plan to pay for state’s universal health care system

ByShannon J. Cortes

Jan 7, 2022

Top line

A California lawmaker on Thursday introduced a bill that would fund single-payer health care in the nation’s largest state through new income, wage and business taxes, as part of a push by politicians Californians to deploy the country’s first single-payer system.

Highlights

Constitutional assembly Amendment 11, presented Thursday by California Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D), contained a tax plan to fund single-payer universal healthcare in California.

The concept, called “CalCare”, was initially proposed by Kalra last February in California. Assembly Bill 1400, but he failed to get out of the committee in the middle critical that there was no detailed plan to fund the program. ACA 11 fulfills these details, proposing to raise funds from a gross revenue tax for companies earning more than $ 2 million, a payroll tax for companies with 50 or more employees and an income tax individuals for those earning more than $ 149,509.

CalCare would provide single-payer coverage to all residents of the state, allowing them access to any doctor regardless of network, and aim to lower prescription drug costs.

The bill will require a two-thirds vote from both houses of the legislature, as well as the approval of California voters.

A hearing for AB 1400 to be held at the Assembly’s Health Committee on January 11, with influential California lawmakers like committee chairman Jim Wood announce On Thursday he will vote to move the bill forward with at least 20 other Assembly Democrats.

Crucial quote

“In 2022, we already have a guarantee that Californian health costs will continue to rise sharply,” Stephanie Roberson, director of government relations for the California Nurses Association, which sponsors the bill, said Thursday. “This time, let’s make sure Californians can get the care they need without going into medical debt, running a GoFundMe campaign, becoming homeless, or paying food or heating bills instead.”

Chief critic

The California Hospital Association and the California Medical Association have opposite AB 1400, stating that it “would take away any choice from anyone who wanted to choose private coverage or opt out”, according to to The Associated Press, while the California Taxpayers Association said CalCare would raise taxes by $ 163 billion a year.

Key context

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D.) was favorable single-payer healthcare when he was elected in 2018, although some reviews say that it intentionally changed its wording in favor of expanding existing public options. California lawmakers introduced a universal health care bill in 2017, but it was sidelined by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) for being “woefully incomplete”, citing funding problems and a possible backlash by the Trump administration.

Tangent

The Biden administration Rebuild better The plan aims to lower prescription drug prices, strengthen the Affordable Care Act, reduce health care premiums, close the Medicaid coverage gap, and expand Medicare to include hearing benefit coverage. . Some consider the bill dead after moderate senator Joe Manchin (DW.V.) firmly denounced him in December, despite holding a decisive vote in the Senate. Biden declared in 2019, it does not support the elimination of private health care, but rather a public option and the strengthening of the law on affordable care.

Surprising fact

Vermont nearly became the first state to establish a single-payer health care system in 2014, but the bill was scrapped at the last minute after lawmakers couldn’t find a viable way to cover the cost of the plan.