California’s hot debate over the possibility of bringing a “Medicare for all” health insurance plan to the Golden State continues July 28 in Santa Rosa at the Business Journal’s Health Care Conference.
A representative of the California Nurses Association, a key backer of the idea, will appear with the president-elect of the California Association of Health Underwriters, which opposes the legislation.
State Senate Bill 562, The Healthy California Act, was introduced this year. But in June, as it was before the state Assembly, the bill was pulled by the assembly speaker. Anthony Rendon called the act woefully inadequate. His action sparked protests through the state, some organized by the CNA.
Even with the withdrawal of the bill, the debate over the issue continues. That’s because of the under future of the Affordable Care Act. That system includes health insurance companies offering different plans for different markets. But it could be dismantled by Congress without a certain view of what would replace it.
The system outlined in SB 562 would create a California system government much like the health care provided to older citizens under Medicare.
“Championed by nearly 400 hundred organizations, led by nurses, doctors, and advocates, including the Business Alliance for Healthy California, SB 562 would replace all insurance company premiums, deductibles and co-pays,” said Michael Lighty, director of public policy at the California Nurses Association.
“Rather than negotiating with health plans or third party administrators, businesses would pay into the Healthy California Trust Fund, which then reimburses all providers based on Medicare rates and per capita payments for all covered services. Those include dental, vision, all medical, mental health, disabled services, and expanded long-term care, and within two years the medical portion of workers’ compensation coverage.”
David Fear Jr., president-elect of the California Association of Health Underwriters, counters that the costs of such a government-run system in California would be overwhelming.
“We believe SB 562 unnecessarily complicates the Covered California program by forcing the entire state health care system to move in an entirely different, prohibitively expensive direction,” Fear said. “California has just completed another successful open-enrollment season, and the percentages of those who are uninsured have dropped to 7.1 percent, a record low in our state.
“We believe the negative impacts that SB 562 would have on the health insurance marketplace and the overall economy in California significantly outweigh the benefits of creating a universal single-payer government-run program.”
Lighty and Fear will appear at the conference, which will take place 8–11:30 a.m. July 28 at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa, 170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa. Tickets are $70 per person or $715 for a table of 10. Register at nbbj.news/health17.
Health Care Conference
July 28, 8–11:30 a.m.
Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa, 170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa
$70 per person or $715 for a table of 10