California Looking At Single Payer

Image (1) medicare-for-all.jpg for post 20634

Way back in my youth there was a saying that California will be ten years ahead of the rest of the country. That has held to be somewhat true from the ‘50s to know.

In the long arc we have seen California as the harbinger of the takeover of radical right government in the late 60s (with Reagan) which eventually showed up in the early 80s (also with Reagan). We then saw California go through a huge tax cutting era that nearly bankrupted the state. Iowa is among many states following that script as is the national government.

We then saw California pass rules for the legislature that placed any governing into the hands of a small radical right minority. About a decade ago, we saw Californians throw off the yoke of of the radical right oligarchs, raise taxes and once more right their ship to at least once more start sailing in the right direction.

So it is with great interest that observers are once more casting their eyes to California to peer into the nations future. Looks like California is digging into offering some form of universal health care in their state. As many Republicans like to say, the states are the laboratories of democracy. This looks like an experiment whose time has come and will be a boon to most Californians that will also point the way to implementing in other states.

Of course there are entrenched interests with deep, deep pocketbooks that will be opposing any move that will cost them money. So this will also be the laboratory where the strategies for and against will be pitted against each other.

Here is a snippet of the story from Jacobin magazine:

After the implementation of single payer, the report says, health expenditures in the state of California would total $400 billion per year, or 15 percent of the state’s GDP. This is three percentage points lower than the share of GDP the United States overall spends on health care.

The reports indicate that, currently, government spending on health care in California is around $200 billion and employer spending on health care is between $100 billion and $150 billion. There is no indication of how much individuals currently spend on top of employers and governments on individual premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Nonetheless, net of current government spending ($200 billion) and employer spending ($100-$150 billion), the single-payer plan requires an additional $50 to $100 billion of spending, or 1.9% to 3.8% of CA GDP.

For that extra 1.9% to 3.8% of GDP:

The state would pay for almost all of its residents’ medical expenses — inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health, and nursing home care — under the plan, and Californians would not have any premiums, copays, or deductibles.

That’s an incredible deal for just 15% of GDP, which again is lower than the United States as a whole already spends on health care.

Wouldn’t that be wonderful in Iowa? Imagine waking up one day and seeing a headline on your screen that there would be a good chance that in exchange for a raise in taxes, you could be done with insurance payments, deductibles, co-pays and the ever hateful pre-existing conditions. In addition to medical care you would also get vision and dental insurance AND nursing home care.

This instead of the headlines we see now such as this one from the other day:


If it is a true single payer plan in California, that would eliminate the need for medicaid, medicare, medical in your car insurance, I believe workman’s comp would also be greatly curtailed. No separate vision insurance, dental insurance, long term care or drug insurance.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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