California Nurses Sponsor a Bill Mandating Free Healthcare for Everyone

Mish

Legislators introduce a bill that mandates free medical for everyone while expanding the list of items covered.

Nurses Applaud CalCare Bill 

The single-payer proposal has CalCare Nurses Applauding.

Renewing its commitment to the larger fight for health care justice, the California Nurses Association (CNA) is pleased to sponsor Assembly Bill 1400 (Kalra), the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare), which would guarantee comprehensive, high-quality health care to all California residents as a human right. The establishment of the CalCare program is an improved Medicare for All-type health care system.

Sponsored by CNA and authored by Assemblymember Ash Kalra, AB 1400 will ensure that all Californians, regardless of employment, income, immigration status, race, gender, or any other considerations, can get the health care they need, free at the point of service.

Californians overwhelmingly support the transition to a single-payer health care system: 57 percent of all Californians supported replacing private insurance with guaranteed coverage provided by the government 

Coverage Q&A

Q: What's Covered?

A: Traditional medical services, dental care, prescription drug coverage, long-term care, and mental health and substance use treatment for everyone at point of service. 

There will be no copays or deductibles. It's all totally "free".

Pressure on Governor Gavin Newsom

The New Single-Payer Bill Intensifies Newsom’s Political Peril.

A group of Democratic state lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to create a single-payer health care system to cover all Californians, immediately defining the biggest health policy debate of the year and putting enormous political pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The Democratic governor faces the increasingly likely prospect of a Republican-driven recall election later this year. The single-payer bill adds to his political peril from the left if he doesn’t express support, and from the right if he does.

While the measure does not assign a price tag to the overhaul, a separate single-payer bill that failed in 2017 would have cost an estimated $400 billion each year.

The introduction of a single-payer proposal this year forces Newsom into a delicate position. The first-term governor, who said he supported the creation of a state-based single-payer health care system when he ran for governor in 2018, has since distanced himself, expressing doubt that California can embark on such a massive transformation on its own.

How Do We Pay For This Free Stuff?

No one seems to have an answer except Ash Kalra who claims the system will pay for itself after rerouting federal dollars for Medicare, Medicaid and other programs into CalCare. 

The system would eventually cost less, he said, because it would simplify health care financing, end for-profit care and cut out private middlemen.

With the government (taxpayers) paying every bill, what forces are holding down any costs (nurses, beds, doctors, drugs, operations, etc.)? 

What forces prevent unnecessary procedures?

This bill is fiscal madness.

Where is This Bill Headed? 

Likely nowhere, but we are talking about California so it's impossible to rule this out.

Mish

Comments (96)
No. 1-34
Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

These pie in the sky ideas have gone nowhere even in California. That being said there is room for reform to lower costs. The problem is it involves someone losing their profit.

Rbm
Rbm

Who is regulating cost now.

Felix_Mish
Felix_Mish

Where are the calls for single payer food - for food justice? Don't Californians have at least as much human right to food as for medical care?

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

So the nurses are willing to give up some of their pay and face rising taxes? And how are those nurses going to keep up with the demand for "free" healthcare? How will nurses feel about their commutes to work becoming unsafe? How will those nurses feel when longer hours or rushed procedures lead to malpractice? If the nurses don't care about the answers to those questions; then just move to Mexico.

seanmichael
seanmichael

The California bill would be more comprehensive than Canada's. Canada's publicly funded healthcare does not cover drugs, and dental which are viewed as too expensive and instead managed through government supports where needed and employer coverage.

Doug78
Doug78

Likely going nowhere. It's like the Teachers Union demanding the government to eliminate charter schools.

njbr
njbr

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nerosmith9090

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frozeninthenorth
frozeninthenorth

You know for a country that has such an amazingly expensive healthcare system -- by far the most expensive, with some rather dubious outcome...you know the results of healthcare instead of the "machines that go ping kind of mentality" (sic Monthly Python the meaning of life).

The failure of America is its terrible health care system. It doesn't work for the vast majority of Americans and is fiendishly expensive -- by all metrics, the American healthcare system fails Americans -- not a single study shows the system superior -- except in its costs -- and its ability to provide amazing healthcare to a very small fraction of the population. But outcomes are poorer than in Canada -- a county that spends about half of what America spends on healthcare

In Canada we have universal healthcare and it's not great, too few doctors, too long a wait, the system has been taken over by the practitioners and the payer -- the Government. There are more MRI machines in Minnesota than in the whole of Canada - not saying that Minnesota needs that many but still..

The best systems are those that place the user/client at the center of the equation. Singapore is an example -- forced savings and private health care for the "usual stuff" from broken legs to other minor ailments. On the other hand, catastrophic health care is the domain of the Government -- the impact the user/customer as the "usual" payer receives excellent health care, on the other hand, insurers know that they will not have to cover the cost of major surgeries.

The nurses are trying to co-opt the system to simplified "their" lives and to reduce the amount of suffering they see in their patients on a daily basis.

All good words and good deeds because America is broken and can no longer take care of the easy stuff!

Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple

If single-payer didn't work, wouldn't all Britons be broke and dead by now?

Frilton Miedman
Frilton Miedman

The problem with U.S. healthcare is cost, period.

Any plan to improve the problem that doesn't tackle cost head-on is another band-aid, can-kicking to avoid the real problem.

Sectors, like pharma, insurance, suppliers, within healthcare that buy our government via campaign funding & lobbying make even the smallest changes near impossible.

We all saw how daunting it was back in 2009-2010, the insurance sector dumped billions into public disinformation about "death panels" and "government takeover", leaving most voters confused & frustrated.

Meanwhile, with our healthcare being the most expensive in the world, factored into employee compensation, we're losing our asses in globalization, both household and government debt is exploding.

We're the only OECD without some form of government healthcare for regular citizens.

The "Free market" isn't quite cutting it here, not when campaign funding is make-or-break for most candidates.

Captain Ahab
Captain Ahab

There is no budget problem if all medical personnel are paid at the $15/hr minimum wage. There might be a slight shortage of medical staff for a while; but really, brain surgery is like writing code or flipping burgers--anyone can do it.

Jackula
Jackula

With Covid anything is possible right now, lots of folks have gotten a medical screwing lately and it might fly in Cali this time

Corvinus
Corvinus

I would bet that the Nurses are hoping to be eventually folded in as Government employees so they can join the ranks of other overpaid, unfireable unionites like teachers, police, correctional officers and firefighters who cry about how poorly they are paid in every election here in California.

Johnson1
Johnson1

Many areas are getting back close to normal. Cases are dropping fast.

Local schools are going back full time March 1st.
Restaurants and bars no longer have restrictive hours or capacity limits.
All stores have no capacity limits.
Airlines may end the middle seat restriction on March 31st.

Mask wearing is still in force and there are signs to respect social distancing but that is hit and miss.

Will we see huge growth in GDP this summer getting back to normal and some big stimulus checks.

Stock markets could go up another 10% this year?

humna909
humna909

Yet numerous countries across the world DO successfully make healthcare free. Sure no system is perfect, but almost every modern economy has a better healthcare system for the bulk of its population than the US.

The questions of who can pay for this stuff or how can it work can be readily answered by looking overseas rather than inward at a completely broken system.

Doug78
Doug78

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humna909
humna909

"With the government (taxpayers) paying every bill, what forces are holding down any costs (nurses, beds, doctors, drugs, operations, etc.)?

What forces prevent unnecessary procedures?"

Um, the payer. Aka the government. It works elsewhere. Costs especial with pharmaceuticals are generally MUCH lower with a 'single' payer system.

Jackula
Jackula

By the way, Texas now has medicare for all to deal with a winter storm that would be a nothing burger in most of the rest of the country. Why not for the pandemic as well?

Realist
Realist

There are plenty of examples of successful single payer systems all over the world. None of them is perfect, but the citizens in those countries often are very happy with their health care systems. Probably because the vast majority of them provide better health care results than in the US for 50%-60% of the cost that the US pays. However, they are national systems. I have no idea if a single payer system in a single US state can work. It would be interesting to see.

Duncan Burns
Duncan Burns

Congress don't care, they're not eating their own cooking. Each congressional office is considered a "small business" (via 2013 OPM Memo), meaning Members of Congress, staff, and family are subsidized through DC Health. So don't expect anything, anywhere, to change except the never-ending rising cost of care & insurance. CONgress: Laws are for thee, not for me.

Greggg
Greggg

I am sure they have figured out how to keep the mandate going after the system runs out of money.

Kimo
Kimo

I'm sure this nurse will have second thoughts when she realizes that Free Health Care means she'll be working for free. Is there another way in a land dedicated to protecting private property?

AGoodCitizen
AGoodCitizen

How do we pay for all the copays, premiums and deductibles to healthcare bureaucrats right now? Kalra's bill would just get rid of the layers and layers of corporate red tape. We have the lowest life expectancy of any wealthy nation and by far the highest health costs.

Scooot
Scooot

My view is that in general, health care should be free for everyone regardless of ability to pay. By free I mean that everyone foots the bill via taxes. However, the main problem that arises with this is the level of cover’. It’s all very well giving everyone free access to GP appoints for example because the cost is fairly equal for all participants over their lifetime. However, for specialist expensive treatment the situation changes. Take an extreme example in which a miracle drug comes on to the market for something at $1million per tablet. If this is offered to all with no consideration of cost the system breaks down. Therefore I think it’s very important with free health at the point of entry systems to specify exactly what is covered, and review it on a regular basis to balance cost of new treatments with likely demand.

SHOfan
SHOfan

Physicians for a National Health Program published a great model for a single payer health care system in 1989.
One gov't agency would re-imburse Drs. and Hospitals directly. Payments would not be going to insurance companies first. This alone would save about 20% of the $4 Trillion a year we spend.
Hospitals would have budgets. They would be much more efficient, with less need for administration the takes up about 1/3 of health costs.

There would be uniform fee schedules for physicians. They would be salaried, like at Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic. Physicians there aren't involved with administration and insurance issues. Those two institutions run incredibly efficiently and provide the highest level of health care. They are models that should be replicated nationwide.

Negotiate drug prices. No extending patents with slight changes.

Administrative cost is about 1/3 of health care cost. Eliminating insurance companies that siphon off about $1 Trillion a year would be a good start.

Eliminating insurance companies would also remove the in-network system, where your insurance company only wants you to receive care from certain providers. That limits competition which politicians always talk about maximizing, but never do.

Single payer would also break the employer based health care problem. People lose their job and they lose health insurance too.

This model was created over 30 years ago. It would improve health care, if health care was administered more like the Cleveland and Mayo models. It would save trillions of dollars just thru the efficiency of removing insurance companies, increasing competition, lowering administrative expense of armies of people squabbling with insurance companies over payment for services. It would break the employer-insurance link. Finally, it would create more jobs, if more people received adequate care.

The money is already here to pay for it. It could just be spent a lot more efficiently thru the above plan. But that never happens because some of that Trillion the insurance companies get, they spend on lobbying. They don't want the gravy train to end.

To ever fix this, for the whole country, involves getting most of this lobbying money out of politics. It is massively corrupt and promotes ever greater inequality in this country.
But that is another whole issue to deal with.

Finster
Finster

There is nothing so expensive as that which is free.

TRasmussen
TRasmussen

Sigh, I hope people don't get the idea that 'single-payer healthcare' = 'free unlimited health care for everyone'.

I live in a country with single payer (Taiwan), and it is completely awesome. The cost is reasonable and the healthcare is excellent; I have experienced none of the long waiting times or other horror stories I hear about from other single payer countries.

But, it is not unlimited free health care. I pay a monthly premium (less than US$200 for my family of 4, imagine that). There's a co-pay for any doctor visit, typically less than $10. Depending on the medicine or tests or whatever, I may end up paying 20-30 bucks or so, rarely more. I recently had a surgery to remove part of my thyroid, stayed in the hospital for 3 nights -- cost to me, beyond National Health Insurance coverage, was about US$1500; fortunately I have another layer of insurance through my work which covered most of that. The hospitals/clinics get extra subsidies from the government to supplement what patients pay. Doctors don't make out like they do in the US but they do just fine.

I don't like to see single payer conflated with free unlimited healthcare for all. I strongly support the former but not the latter, I live in the real world where things cost money and other people's time/effort is not something owed to me as a 'human right'.

RonJ
RonJ

"California Nurses Sponsor a Bill Mandating Free Healthcare for Everyone"

Nurses support a bill mandating they work for free?


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