Said Assemblymember Yamada during the press conference:
“The social work profession was one of the first in the nation to support single-payer, universal healthcare for all. I am honored to join Senator Leno in his efforts to reduce costs for California residents and businesses, and reinvest savings into patient care rather than profits.”
SB 810 is the latest incarnation of a bill first introduced by former Senator Sheila Kuehl that attempts to address one of the latest and growing crises in this state–the state’s health care crisis in which an estimated 7 million Californians are left uninsured. The crisis only continues to worsen as more Californians lose their jobs, and as a consequence, their employer-sponsored health care benefits.
Surveys such as those done by the Kaiser Family foundation have found that health insurance premiums grow annlually four times faster than wages and have rised 87% since 2000.
For those who believe the US has the best health care system in the world, there is no statistical measure that actually validates that argument. Right now, the US spends more on health care than any other industrialized country. We spent $2.5 trillion each year which is roughly 17.6% of our GDP. According to Health Affairs from February 2009, that is twice what any other nation spends.
What do we get for this spending? How about a health care system that ranks 37th by the World Health Organization.
Said Mark Leno upon introduction of the legislation:
“As a nation, we spend twice as much per person on health care as other wealthy countries, with the hope that our families will be protected from illnesses, yet most insured Americans still worry about how they will afford critical care if they become sick. In California, 7 million people do not have health insurance. Wasteful health care spending is crushing our economy and forcing families to forego basic medical care. With the money we spend today on health care, California can have a modern, universal health care system that provides high quality care for everyone.”
So far SB 810 has received the co-sponsorship of at least 43 legislators, but there is one key legislator who so far has not signed on to the support the legislation as a co-sponsor–that would be freshman Senator Lois Wolk who serves Davis and most of Yolo County.
To make matters worse, Senator Wolk sits on a key committee, the Health committee. Already one of the Democrats, Senator Negrete McLeod has signaled opposition to the Leno Bill which makes Senator Wolk the key swing vote on the committee and the only other Democrat who has not signed onto the key legislation.
SB 810 would provide affordable healthcare to all Californians that includes the right for each Californian to choose their own physician. It would be provided to all residents regardless of their employment, income, or pre-existing condition.
Under the act, everyone would pay into the system–individuals, employers, and the government. There would be no new spending on healthcare. The system would be funded by existing federal, state and county monies already going to healthcare and would replace all current premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket payments and co-pays currenly paid by employers and consumers.
According to an anlysis:
“The Act eliminates waste by consolidating the functions of many insurance companies into one comprehensive insurance plan, saving the state and consumers billions of dollars each year. Currently about half of every dollar spent on healthcare is squandered on clinical and administrative waste, insurance company profits, and overpriced pharmaceuticals. The Act is based on a model that has been estimated to save California about $20 billion through reduced administrative costs in the first year alone.”
This is not socialized medicine. It simply combines insurance providers under a single-umbrella, combines and consolidates the spending that has increased tremendously on the part of employers and individuals. In many ways this would act simply as an extension of the current Medicare system providing coverage to all rather than just those over 65 and retired. The individuals would still choose their own doctors. However gone would be many of the problems associated with the current health care system–the waste, inefficiency, lack of coverage, under-coverage, etc.
The real question at this point is why hasn’t Senator Wolk signed onto this bill like her counterpart in the Assembly, Mariko Yamada?
—David M. Greenwald reporting