HealthDay News — A proposal to replace private insurance with government-funded health care for all moved forward in California on Wednesday as Democrats on the Senate Health Committee voted to advance the measure.
The single-payer approach is backed by two Democratic senators, Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, and the state’s powerful nursing union but faces an uphill battle, the Associated Press reported.
The proposal would guarantee coverage with no out-of-pocket expenses for all residents of the state, including those in the country illegally. A state agency would set prices and contract with doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers and pay all patients’ bills. Private insurers would not be allowed to cover the same services, essentially removing them from the marketplace, the AP reported.
It’s not clear where money for the single-payer system would come from. Last year, health spending in California was more than $367 billion, according to the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. A study of the costs and possible funding methods was commissioned by the California Nurses Association and will be ready before the proposal goes to the next committee later this year, according to spokesman Chuck Idelson, the AP reported.
Single-Payer Health System Bill Moves Forward in California. California State Senate. 2017. available at http://senate.ca.gov/