California Single-Payer Bill Advances
California Single-Payer Bill AdvancesJune 5, 2017
Ken Ruotolo, Chief Operating Officer
On June 1, the California State Senate approved SB 562, legislation to enact a single-payer system, even though there are few details about how the program will work or how it will be financed. The Senate pushed through this legislation to meet a procedural deadline. The bill now moves to the State Assembly for consideration. SB 562 will be subject to much closer examination in the Assembly where legislators will need to consider significant questions that the Senate never answered:
- The program is expected to cost $400 billion. How will it be financed?
- In addition to replacing all private insurance, it would replace MediCare and MediCal. Will the state get federal permission to use MediCare/MediCal funds for this program?
- Do the residents of California really want to substitute their right to choose medical coverage and its cost with government-set coverage and cost?
- Will providers accept the level of payment the new system would offer? If not, will providers migrate out of the state, creating long wait times for consumers, as is seen in other countries with single-payer systems?
- Once implemented, a single-payer system would end the health insurance industry in California terminating employment for individuals working for companies small and large. Has this been considered? Is there a plan to mitigate the disruption?
The Assembly has until September 15, 2017 to answer these and other important questions, approve the legislation and send it to the Governor, otherwise it cannot be passed this year.
Most experts consider single-payer legislation in California to be a long-shot at this time:
- The governor has expressed significant concern about the financing.
- The concept has been voted on and never enacted, many times in California and in other states.
- Such a bill would hurt significant sectors of Main Street and Wall Street.
- If the bill gains traction, surely national business interests will jump in to apply pressure to defeat it. They would not want California to establish a precedent for the rest of the states.
Not sure what “single-payer” means? Check out the answer. If you would like to learn how “single-payer” could affect your clients and your business, we recommend reviewing these talking points developed by the California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU), the professional association that represents health insurance agents and brokers and their clients.
If you would like your voice to be heard on SB 562, register for CAHU’s VoterVoice program and send a message to your local representative and the governor.
If you are not yet a member of CAHU and NAHU (the national organization), we strongly recommend that you join (see sponsorship offer below). These organizations provide agents and brokers with excellent professional development opportunities; easy-to-follow instructions on how to get your message to lawmakers and most importantly, they advocate strongly with legislators on your behalf.
To encourage you to join NAHU and CAHU, Claremont will sponsor your membership by paying one month’s dues ($40 value) for the first 15 brokers that contact us. Simply contact us at email@example.com to become a member with the Claremont sponsorship.
Contact the small group experts at 800.696.4543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.