California Introduces Statewide Universal Health Care Bill | new university

Assembly Bill (AB) 1400 was passed by the California State Assembly Rules Committee on January 11. Called the Universal Health Care Bill, the proposal outlines a single-payer system that would replace private insurance plans in the state.

AB 1400 would provide government-run care to all California citizens, essentially eliminating the need for private insurance. All California residents could enroll in the system and receive healthcare benefits, including reduced prescription costs, emergency medical care and visits to a general practitioner.

The legislative proposal was accompanied by an amendment to the state constitution to fund its content. The amendment, titled Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11, includes a variety of new taxes, including an annual excise tax on businesses with annual revenues over $2 million and a $2.3 million personal income tax. % for individuals earning $149,509 or more per year.

Universal health care coverage has long been an unmet goal of California Democrats. Voters in the state rejected a similar ballot initiative in 1994, and one introduced in 2017 failed to pass the California State Assembly.

Other states that have attempted similar bills have also encountered obstacles. The Vermont state government created legislation to establish the state’s first single-payer health care system in 2011, but lawmakers had to scrap it due to a lack of funds to enforce it. .

Even if AB 1400 survives, it will take years for the bill to pass, and it will likely appear in 2024, according to Assemblyman Ash Kalra, who authored the bill.

Proponents of the bill are optimistic it will benefit Californians, saying a single-payer system will reduce health coverage costs and allow people to reap more benefits.

“There are countless studies that tell us that single-payer health care is the fiscal thing to do, the smartest health policy to follow, and a moral imperative if we care about human life. “, said Kalra.

Despite the bill’s many supporters, particularly among Democrats, it still lacks the support of several key figures, including Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom’s 2022-2023 state budget proposal seeks to expand Medi-Cal’s current Medicaid care system in California, in indirect opposition to AB 1400.

Newsom’s plan highlights similar benefits that are also claimed by AB 1400, including reduced healthcare costs, improved accessibility and strengthened healthcare infrastructure. His proposal could go into effect as early as 2024 if approved by the state legislature. Compared to the long process required to finalize and implement AB 1400, this would be a faster option.

In addition to Newsom’s opposition, many organizations within the state are mobilizing against the bill. The California Chamber of Commerce called the proposal a “job killer” and the California Medical Association expressed apprehension over the bill’s lack of cost analysis.

As the debate over how best to provide medical care to Californians intensifies, it’s clear that no definitive solution yet exists.

“I believe in a single-payer funding model. The ‘how’ at the state level is the question that needs to be thoughtfully answered,” Newsom said.

Elaina Martin is editor of City News. She can be reached at [email protected].

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