Opinion: Why single-payer would improve California health care

The only big losers are the private insurance companies – and that’s okay with me

San Jose Mercury News

By JAMES G. KAHN |

PUBLISHED: April 2, 2019 at 6:10 am | UPDATED: April 2, 2019 at 6:13 am

—How to achieve universal health insurance in California? In our super-progressive, supermajority Democratic state, that’s the health policy question of the day. Not if we should lead the way on universal coverage, but how.

Recently, UC Berkeley economists proposed a solution, dubbed California Dreamin’. Expand current insurance to cover the uninsured, using up to $17 billion in new taxes. That’s a 5 percent bump in health spending. Problem solved, right?

No. While the goal is admirable, the Dreamin’ approach adds a Rube Goldberg appendage to a Rube Goldberg health care financing system. It layers cost and complexity upon cost and complexity. Our insurance system will continue to underperform.

We need to revamp our insurance mess. We can do this with a well-known and proven solution: single-payer.

Also known as improved “Medicare-for-All,” single-payer has these core features: everyone is covered cradle to grave with the same comprehensive benefits package; health care is financed by a single entity; payment is greatly simplified; patients freely choose among doctors; and doctors focus on providing care.

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Dan Geiger
Medicare for All Is Not Just Good Politics—It’s Good for Business, Too

Having health insurance tethered to employment is a terrible idea.

By Joe Sanberg

The Nation

We’ve all heard, read and seen the claims that Medicare for All is bad for the the economy, anti-business, and an attack on the free market. In response, advocates for Medicare for All like myself have instead made the case about the moral urgency of ensuring that everyone has health care, no matter their means.

But what if Medicare for All is the moral and economically smart course? What if a business-friendly figure, like an entrepreneur, explained that Medicare for All would be one of the best things we could do to create better paying jobs, faster new business growth, and an economy that could better compete in the world market?

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Dan Geiger
Healthy California Campaign Launches

Labor, Community, and Health Advocacy Organizations
Launch Renewed Campaign to Win California Medicare for All

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday March 4, 2019
Contact Matthew Artz: 510-435-8035, martz@nuhw.org
www.healthyca.org

SACRAMENTO — Less than one week after the introduction of a federal Medicare For All bill in the House of Representatives, a statewide, non-partisan coalition comprised of community, consumer, labor, health, disability, LGBTQ, business, and political organizations launched the renewed and reinvigorated Healthy California campaign.

The campaign is founded on the principles that healthcare is a human right, and that publicly and equitably financed access to quality care for all residents of California is critical to our state’s social and economic well-being. It is dedicated to establishing a single-payer Medicare For All system in California as a model for an equitable U.S. healthcare system with no barriers to care.

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Dan Geiger
March 19th: UC-Berkeley and Business Alliance sponsor "Universal Coverage: Is Medicare for All the Answer?'

Join the Business Alliance for a Healthy California, UC-Berkeley School of Public Health and the Haas Business School for a special event on March 19, 2019 at UC- Berkeley. Register here.

The cost and availability of health care is one of the most critical issues facing the United States. “Medicare for All,” or a single-payer system, is one approach that embraced by numerous presidential candidates, Governor Gavin Newsom, and leaders in other states. Several Medicare-for-All bills are either pending or in development nationally and in California.

What does “Medicare for All” really mean, how would it be financed, and are there other ways to achieve universal health care? Join us for a discussion that will address these questions and more. Our panelists will explain the basics of a single-payer system, its pros and cons, and other strategies to achieve universal health care.

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Dan Geiger
Jeffrey Sacks on "Why the Medicare for All Bill is a Winner

Source: CNN

Jeffrey Sachs is a professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author; view more opinion articles on CNN.

(CNN)Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced a sweeping Medicare for All (MFA) bill on Wednesday (H.R. 1384), and the national debate on healthcare is bound to intensify through the 2020 election. Voters rank healthcare costs as their second most important priority, just after the economy. The political fate of MFA will likely depend on one key question: Will it reduce healthcare costs while preserving the freedom to choose health providers?

If properly structured, MFA can do that: cut costs while improving choice.

Medicare for All has come a long way since Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his 2016 presidential campaign on that theme, while fellow Democrats ran from the label. Sanders also faced the wrath of mainstream pundits like Paul Krugman, who described Sanders' healthcare plan as "smoke and mirrors." Now, every major Democratic Party candidate endorses the label, (though they will certainly differ on the details) and Sanders could well become president in 2021 on the basis of his clear and persistent MFA advocacy.

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Dan Geiger
'The Time for Medicare for All Has Come': Jayapal Unveils Visionary Bill to Remake US Healthcare System

Published on Wednesday, February 27, 2019

by Common Dreams

Calling for a "complete transformation of our healthcare system," Democratic congresswoman says what her legislation will mean is simple: "Everybody in, nobody out."

by Jake Johnson, staff writerJon Queally, staff writer

"Healthcare is a human right. We will need every single person in the country to help us, to stand with us, to organize, and to fight for this," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in a statement. (Image: Rep. Pramila Jayapal/Facebook)

In a historic step toward replacing America's uniquely expensive and deadly for-profit healthcare system with a humane program that would leave no one behind, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) on Wednesday will officially introduce Medicare for All legislation that policy experts and advocates have praised as comprehensive, strong, and "battle-ready."

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Dan Geiger
New Poll: Americans Rank Healthcare as Most Difficult Expense to Pay

Debt, housing, devastating monthly healthcare payments –these are the top concerns of American households according to a new morning consult poll.

It’s not surprising to see that rising premiums are feeding anxiety across the country, but it is disturbing to see healthcare costs ranking at the top.

The poll shows 29% of households rank healthcare as the monthly payment that is the most difficult for them to pay, with 21% more ranking it as their second biggest monthly financial stressor.

To give you an idea of how crazy that number is: It is tied with housing as the top monthly financial stressor. The same amount of people are stressed about paying their monthly premiums and out of pocket costs as making rent or mortgage payments.

Food and transportation only clocked in at 4%.

Hard to think of a better indicator for how broken our healthcare system is.

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Dan Geiger
Gavin Newsom is already moving California toward single-payer

Los Angeles Times

By THE TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD

JAN 09, 2019 | 3:10 AM

Gavin Newsom backed an assortment of ambitious and expensive programs as he campaigned for governor, none more so than the idea of converting the state to a single-payer healthcare system. On his first day in office Monday, Newsom reaffirmed that goal, but set the state on a more measured — and far more achievable — path toward insuring all Californians.

The most dramatic step Newsom took was also the one least likely to bear fruit: He signed a letter asking the federal government’s permission to mingle federal dollars (such as funding for Medicare, Medicaid and veterans health benefits) and state funds into a single-payer system, replacing the various public and private insurance programs with one run by Sacramento. The chances of the Trump administration signing on to such a plan seem more remote than the most distant star in the Milky Way.

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Dan Geiger