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Single-Payer Healthcare – Senate Bill 562 – What you should know

For the small sum of 400 billion dollars, the California legislature has passed a bill that will create a single-payer healthcare system. As the battle over the Affordable Care Act shows no signs of slowing, California Senators have taken matters into their own hands. In many ways, this bill would simplify healthcare for Californians. No more copays, forget about in-network vs. out-of-network. This bill would revolutionize healthcare in the United States by eliminating components of the for-profit healthcare system.

What you should know about single-payer healthcare in California

On June 1st, 2017, the California state Senate passed SB 562 23-14, also known as the Healthy California Act. If passed, residents of California would no longer get health care through employers or Medicaid. All citizens would be eligible for coverage through a program called Healthy California. Even better, this coverage would come with zero out-of-pocket expenses. The program will cover nearly every type of medical expense – medical, dental, vision, even long-term care.
 
How much does it cost? Nothing. The state will charge no premium for coverage. Does that mean that it is free? Not exactly. The new system would cost an immense amount of money that will be passed on to residents in the form of higher taxes. In context, the 400 billion dollar healthcare program would double the state’s annual budget. However, last year the state and federal government spent 367 billion dollars on healthcare in California. According to the Senate report, half of the 400 billion dollar price tag could be recuperated from existing spending.
 
If passed, this law would not allow you to keep your current health care plan. Private insurance will no longer exist. The legislation would automatically enroll Medicare patients into the Healthy California plan. For current recipients, this would constitute a significant upgrade in the benefits currently provided by Medicare.
Needless to say, many questions remain how this law would be integrated into the countries currently healthcare system.
 
To no surprise, the insurance industry is heavily opposed to this law. Using common language like “job killer”, opponents of the bill are lobbying that Healthy California would disrupt their operations. Supporters of the bill include the California Nurses Association. Invigorated by the campaign promises of Bernie Sanders, the CNA is organizing events to rally support for the groundbreaking bill.
 
To be clear, SB 562 still has a long way to go. The California Governor, Jerry Brown has stated: “I don’t even get it… how do you do [single-payer healthcare] that?”
 
Without a doubt, SB 562 will continue to make headlines over the next several months. Do you have an opinion about single-payer healthcare? The NurSearch team would love to hear from you! Contact a NurSearch team member by signing up for NurSearch!
 
 
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