In response to President Trump’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, California lawmakers Friday introduced legislation to replace private medical insurance with a government health care system that would cover all 38 million residents of the state, including illegal immigrants.
“We’ve reached this pivotal moment and I thought to myself: ‘Look, now more than ever is the time to talk about universal health care,’” one of the bill’s authors, Democrat Sen. Ricardo Lara, said Friday.
The Healthy California Act was submitted just prior to the deadline for new legislation and does not offer specifics about the plan. Medicare, the federally funded health coverage for the elderly, is often cited as an example of what a single-payer system might resemble.
Proponents claim that single-payer systems make health care more affordable and efficient by eliminating administrative red tape, but opponents argue that they cost taxpayers more and give too much power to the government.
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Supporters also argue that such plans are not as expensive as they seem because new taxes would eliminate the soaring costs of insurance premiums. They contend that huge savings would come from curbing rising administrative costs, as well as the high profits, of insurance companies.
“In light of threats to the Affordable Care Act, it’s important that we are looking at all options to continue to expand and maintain access to health care,” said Sen. Toni Atkins (D-Calif.) who co-authored California’s new bill.
Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Health Access California, says that he is waiting to see more details about the new legislation. “California’s health care system is stronger when everyone is included, and we first need to fight to make sure Congress doesn’t take California further from that goal.’’
A January Pew Research report showed that 60 percent of Americans—up from 51 percent last year—think the government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, compared with 38 percent who believe it should not be the government’s responsibility.
H/T: The Mercury News
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