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Thu Mar 4, 2021, 10:05 AM

Thank you, California Nurses Association, for not giving up on single-payer health insurance!

Another post on DU today explains how the Affordable Care Act is "quietly" undergoing major changes under the Biden administration to expand the availability of health insurance, which is wonderful news. More wonderful news is that nurses in California have not given up on their mission since 1994 to promote the single-payer health insurance model.

From a February 19, 2021, CNA website article:

Renewing its commitment to the larger fight for health care justice, the California Nurses Association (CNA) is pleased to sponsor Assembly Bill 1400 (Kalra), the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare), which would guarantee comprehensive, high-quality health care to all California residents as a human right. The establishment of the CalCare program is an improved Medicare for All-type health care system.

Despite the gains made under the Affordable Care Act, nearly 3 million Californians have no health insurance, while millions more have insurance that they can’t afford to use because their copays and deductibles are too high. Meanwhile, for-profit insurance companies are reporting record-breaking profits, even while the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage California and medical bankruptcies are at an all time high.

Sponsored by CNA and authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, AB 1400 will ensure that all Californians, regardless of employment, income, immigration status, race, gender, or any other considerations, can get the health care they need, free at the point of service.

“From our experiences caring for patients, we nurses have known the need for and fought for decades for everyone to have guaranteed health care through a system like CalCare,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN and executive director of California Nurses Association and the national nursing organization with which it is affiliated, National Nurses United. “The Covid pandemic has just underscored the desperate societal need for this program NOW. CalCare will ensure that public health is the priority of our health care system, not making a buck for insurance corporations.”

CNA nurses have been at the forefront of the fight to guarantee health care as a right for all Californians since 1994, when they led the charge for Prop. 186, a ballot measure that would have implemented a single-payer system in California. Since then, nurses have continued to advocate for guaranteed health care for all, knowing all too well the failings that come with a health care system that places profits ahead of patients.


[link:https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/press/nurses-applaud-introduction-calcare-bill-for-single-payer-system|

This is what happens when caring people tackle problems involving basic human rights.

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Reply Thank you, California Nurses Association, for not giving up on single-payer health insurance! (Original post)
LaMouffette Mar 4 OP
Budi Mar 4 #1
LaMouffette Mar 4 #2

Response to LaMouffette (Original post)

Thu Mar 4, 2021, 11:01 AM

1. Do they say how long a Single Payer or M4A would take to ...

"Phase-in"?

Is there an actual policy plan ready to present for legislation?
Or is it still in the talking stage?



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Response to LaMouffette (Original post)

Thu Mar 4, 2021, 01:51 PM

2. The bill has been introduced, but it looks like it's going to put a lot of pressure on Gov. Newsome.

Still, I think it's a positive sign that people are still looking for ways to give private insurance corporations the boot.

Here's another good article on the bill, from a KHN website article, February 19, 2021. It discusses the views of both proponents and opponents of the bill:

SACRAMENTO — A group of Democratic state lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to create a single-payer health care system to cover all Californians, immediately defining the biggest health policy debate of the year and putting enormous political pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The Democratic governor faces the increasingly likely prospect of a Republican-driven recall election later this year. The single-payer bill adds to his political peril from the left if he doesn’t express support, and from the right if he does.

State Assembly member Ash Kalra, author of AB 1400, said the coronavirus pandemic has exposed a broken health care system that has left millions without reliable and affordable health coverage. His bill would address those gaps in the system, he said, effectively eliminating private health insurance by shifting responsibility for administering and financing health coverage to the state government.

The new system, called CalCare, would expand coverage to nearly 3 million uninsured Californians and provide rich benefits, including dental care, generous prescription drug coverage and long-term care, according to the bill language, which was obtained by California Healthline before the measure was introduced.

The move, however, faces monumental financial and legal barriers, and would likely require new taxes. While the measure does not assign a price tag to the overhaul, a separate single-payer bill that failed in 2017 would have cost an estimated $400 billion each year.

“People are dying and suffering. They’re going bankrupt and starting GoFundMe pages just in order to survive in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest nation on earth,” said Kalra, a liberal Democrat from San Jose. “We now have a Democratic White House, and forward-thinking Democrats like Xavier Becerra going to Washington who can be incredibly helpful.”

Nearly 20 other Assembly Democrats signed on to the legislation, which is among the first state-based single-payer proposals to be introduced under the Biden administration. Massachusetts lawmakers this year introduced similar legislation, and other states are considering it.

Sponsored by the California Nurses Association, a powerful union and political force in Sacramento, the single-payer bill is expected to ignite a fierce health care fight among liberal and moderate Democratic lawmakers, and draw intense opposition from deep-pocketed health industry groups, including insurers, doctors and hospitals.

“Eliminating private health coverage in California will always be unworkable for a number of reasons. It would cost $400 billion a year, which we can’t afford,” said Ned Wigglesworth, spokesperson for Californians Against the Costly Disruption of our Healthcare, which includes major private health insurers and the state doctor and hospital lobbying groups, which also opposed the 2017 single-payer bill.
“Shifting to an entirely government-based health system would be especially harmful and disruptive now, as California’s health care community is focused on meeting the acute health care needs of our state during a pandemic,” Wigglesworth added.

Assembly member Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), who as chair of the Assembly Health Committee controls which health policy legislation gets a hearing, cast doubt on the feasibility of single-payer late last year, saying the state should instead build on the Affordable Care Act. Supporters fear his potential opposition could block the bill.

California’s proposal, if approved, could test the Biden administration’s willingness to grant states freedom to enact sweeping health care reforms such as a single-payer system. Becerra, California’s attorney general, has expressed unwavering support for single-payer and would be positioned to weigh in on the plan should he be confirmed as President Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services secretary. Becerra’s Senate confirmation hearings start Tuesday.

“The president himself doesn’t necessarily have to support single-payer on a national level to allow states to move forward,” Kalra said.
The introduction of a single-payer proposal this year forces Newsom into a delicate position. The first-term governor, who said he supported the creation of a state-based single-payer health care system when he ran for governor in 2018, has since distanced himself, expressing doubt that California can embark on such a massive transformation on its own.

Newsom’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Newsom, once seen as a rising Democratic Party star, faces a burgeoning recall effort driven by state and national Republicans. The embattled governor is under fire for a clumsy and confusing vaccine rollout; backlogs and fraud at the state’s unemployment agency; and violating his own public health rules when he dined maskless last year at the ritzy French Laundry restaurant. Democrats have also criticized the governor for his pandemic response, including his inability to reach a legislative deal to open schools to in-person instruction.


More at:

[link:https://khn.org/news/article/new-single-payer-bill-intensifies-newsoms-political-peril/|

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