Eight Assemblymembers have come out with a joint statement in opposition to the decision by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to hold up consideration of SB 562, the universal health care bill.
On Friday, Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, David Chiu, Laura Friedman, Ash Kalra, Kevin McCarty, Adrian Nazarian, Mark Stone and Tony Thurmond issued a joint statement, “As co-authors of SB 562, we strongly support the vision of a single-payer healthcare system. While we were disappointed that SB 562 as passed by the Senate lacked critical details, we were ready to carry on the work necessary for responsible policymaking.”
They continued, “Given the news that the bill will not proceed in the Assembly this year, we are committed to continuing the work necessary to advance single payer. With the very real likelihood that the Republican Congress will repeal the Affordable Care Act, we have no time to waste, and plan to pursue the best avenues for securing single-payer healthcare as soon as possible.
“This includes potentially working through the Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage or other legislative avenues to continue the difficult discussions required to advance this goal. We stand ready to engage all stakeholders to advance universal access to high-quality health care for Californians.”
It was a week ago that Speaker Rendon paused consideration of SB 562 this year in the Assembly, stating, “SB 562 was sent to the Assembly woefully incomplete. Even senators who voted for SB 562 noted there are potentially fatal flaws in the bill, including the fact it does not address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls, or the realities of needed action by the Trump Administration and voters to make SB 562 a genuine piece of legislation.
“In light of this, I have decided SB 562 will remain in the Assembly Rules Committee until further notice,” he said.
The Healthy California Act proposes to cover all Californians, including 2.7 million who are uninsured – more than 7 percent of the population. It will lower costs and improve care for the one-third of Californians who are underinsured and pay high out-of-pocket costs and deductibles.
With SB 562, all Californians will have comprehensive healthcare, including dental and mental health coverage.
Californians will be able to choose their doctors instead of being limited to narrow networks.
According to federal data, nearly 14 percent of our state’s gross domestic product goes to healthcare, and that amount is projected to rise.
An economic study released this week found substantial savings from the passage of Senate Bill 562.
The Congressional Budget Office found that the House Republicans’ bill would take healthcare away from 23 million people and raise the cost of healthcare, especially for older Americans and those with health conditions.
The Healthy California Act would only take effect once a financing plan has been approved by the legislature, the governor and California voters.
A study by national researchers released in May found that the Healthy California Act (Senate Bill 562) will save billions of dollars while expanding coverage to uninsured and underinsured Californians.
“Healthcare costs Californians billions and one-third of people with healthcare still don’t have enough coverage,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “The good news is that California can get a lot more for our money and reduce the costs of healthcare for middle class families and businesses.”
“This study adds to the evidence that SB 562 is the right policy for California’s future,” said Senator Toni G. Atkins. “Our healthcare system is complex, and we have much work in front of us to make sure that the Healthy California Act is done correctly. We will get there.”
Among the findings of the economic analysis by a team of economists at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, led by nationally known economist and author Robert Pollin:
The total cost of healthcare in California will fall from $368.5 billion to $331 billion with the passage of SB 562.
Middle class families will pay less for healthcare. The average middle class family will see their out of pocket costs fall by 9% if they now buy insurance, and 2.6% if they get insurance from their employer.
Businesses will pay less for healthcare. Small businesses with fewer than 9 employees who provide healthcare will see costs fall by 22%. Middle-sized business with 10-19 employees will pay 13% less. Even large businesses with 500 employees will pay less.
Healthy California will give full coverage to the estimated one-third of Californians who are underinsured and burdened with high out of pocket costs.
Healthy California cuts costs through better administration and lower prescription drug costs. Having one publicly run system will reduce inefficiency and missed prevention opportunities, similar to Medicare now.
Click here to read the study: http://oneplanmychoice.com/savings/
“Despite the incredible progress California has made, millions still do not have access to health insurance and millions more can’t afford the high deductibles and copays and often forgo care,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “For me, this issue is personal. This is the right fight, and the right thing to do for California’s families, children and seniors.”
“More and more, Californians believe healthcare is a basic human right. The momentum to provide universal care is building, and the moment is right to create a single-payer plan,” said Senator Toni Atkins. “I thank my Senate colleagues who voted to give SB 562 a chance to succeed. Let’s be clear – there is a lot of hard work to be done on this bill. There will be numerous hearings, plenty of input from interested parties and lots of time for the public to weigh in. I believe we can create a sound proposal for a healthcare system that costs less money and covers all Californians.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting