District Council 57

California Bill Calls for Healthcare for All

Photo credit: Campaign for a Healthy California

By Taryn Luna and Jim Miller—Feb. 17, 2017

With the health care of millions of Californians at stake if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act, a state senator is introducing legislation Friday to establish a single-payer system.

Under single-payer, the state would negotiate prices for services and prescriptions with providers, pharmaceutical companies and others.

Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, said he intends to introduce a bare-bones measure and begin a conversation with stakeholders about the best way to move forward.

“This is an issue that we need to lead on now more than ever, given the rhetoric we hear in Washington,” Lara said. “Dismantling the Affordable Care Act has been part of (President Donald) Trump’s agenda all along. As California leaders, we will be responsible for the delivery of health care for millions of people.”

Lara envisions a system that would “cut out insurance company waste and duplication that currently exists.”

“There’s no more out-of-control co-pays and high deductibles,” he said.

Last month at Lara’s urging, California withdrew a request to the federal government for permission to allow undocumented people to obtain health insurance from Covered California, the state’s health care exchange. Lara, linking the decision to concerns about the incoming Trump administration, called it “the first California casualty of the Trump presidency.”

Lara said Thursday that a single-payer health care system would enable the state to extend coverage to undocumented adults. Meanwhile, the current budget included $45 million to provide full Medi-Cal coverage to 185,000 undocumented children.

California lawmakers have considered single-payer and other comprehensive health care measures over the years.

Read more at The Sacramento Bee.

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