SACRAMENTO, CA , May 18, 2017 - IIABCal and industry partners continue to be heavily involved in a fight against a universal single-payer healthcare bill before the California Legislature.
Next Monday, universal single payer healthcare legislation could very well be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee. SB 562 requires all people to join a state government-run healthcare system. The bill is authored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ricardo Lara, Dem-Los Angeles.
According to IIABCal Lobbyist John Norwood, the legislation’s main obstacle is that it costs $250 billion and has no financing mechanism, which will require it to be referred to the Committee’s suspense calendar.
The good news, according to Norwood, is that Senator Lara appears to largely be using the bill as a way to generate attention to his underlying goal of becoming the next Insurance Commissioner.
Recent polling of young adults to seniors, when advised of the inflexibility of plan purchasing (being forced to only access government run insurance) causes favorability to plummet. A government run system would drive insurers out of California, and people’s doctors with them.
Nevertheless, there is a large insurance, healthcare, and employer coalition, of which IIABCal's lobbyists, John and Erin Norwood, are active participants, that is working hard to stop the proposed legislation.
Additionally, Governor Jerry Brown is expected to veto a measure along these lines because of his long record of fiscal prudence.
IIABCal is specifically partnering with the California Association of Health Underwriters and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors of California to lobby against the bill. Members of these collective associations help millions of individual Californians and businesses evaluate, select, purchase, and use their healthcare coverage plans, resulting in greater health and financial security.
Single payer is an issue that has been vetted unsuccessfully not only here in California, but has also recently failed in other states such as Vermont and Colorado. California has just completed another successful open enrollment season and the percentages of those who are uninsured have dropped to 7.1%, a record low in our state.
Certified health insurance agents contributed in large part to this success story, having helped millions of Californians find and keep affordable healthcare coverage.
“Some of the major concerns with the bill is a potentially enormous employer payroll tax and the likely impact on federal dollars flowing to California, including with respect to impacts on MediCal,” Norwood said. “Its consequences could do incalculable harm to consumers.
“It must be kept in mind that the consumer is left virtually defenseless in a single-payer system if a decision is made not to provide healthcare coverage for that individual,” Norwood said. “Currently, consumers who are denied coverage for a surgery, procedure, or prescription by a carrier can turn to their health insurance agent for help. There is no such leverage in a single payer format and the consumer is left to the mercy and sufferance of single-payer management.”