In the same week American’s learn the newly proposed version of Trumpcare will eliminate health insurance for nearly 23 million people, Californian’s also learn the cost of SB 562, the single-payer healthcare bill that would provide free healthcare to every California citizen. The bill is called the “Healthy California Act” and was introduced to the State Senate by Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). The financial analysis of the bill concluded that:
· As written, the bill would cost $400 billion per year to cover both healthcare and administrative costs
· Half of that cost, $200 billion, would come from new taxes
· Another $200 billion would come from existing funds that could be diverted into the Healthy California program
The new taxes would come in the form of payroll taxes on employers. It’s estimated that a tax rate of 15% of earned income would be enough to supply the necessary revenue. However, SB 562 does not include a tax proposal which would require a two-thirds majority vote to pass. Though a tax increase on employers may sound burdensome, it’s believed the proposal would reduce employer spending by approximately $50 billion. SB 562 would also eliminate an employer’s obligation to provide insurance.
Will California be the First State to Offer Single-Payer Healthcare?
The move for state-run single-payer universal health insurance is finding footing across the U.S. At least 10 states have or plan to place single-payer initiatives on the ballot, many under the Healthcare For All program. New York and California are leading the way. Both states have passed single-payer proposals in the State Assembly and prospects for a bill to pass in the New York State Senate seem to be looking up.
Concerns about repealing the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of Trumpcare, (American Healthcare Act) are no doubt driving the interest for state control. The CBO report on the latest version of AHCA projects 14 million people will be without health insurance within a year of implementing the bill. That number could reach 23 million by 2026. To make matter worse, numbers indicate that premium costs for seniors and some others could increase by 800%.
Though he was a proponent of single-payer insurance as a presidential candidate in 1992, Governor Jerry Brown is not yet supporting SB 562. If you support universal healthcare in California or would like to learn more about it, visit the Healthy California Act website, and call Governor Jerry Brown at (916) 445-2841 to voice your opinion.