Will California fail financially without single-payer health care? Candidates for governor disagree




April 24, 2018 12:01 AM

Updated 3 hours 5 minutes ago

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the frontrunner for California governor says he "doesn't see an alternative" to a taxpayer-financed single-payer health care system run by state government.

If California doesn't drastically reshape the way health care is financed and delivered, he said, soaring health care costs will create a fiscal emergency that could bankrupt the nation's wealthiest and most populous state.

"We're on a path to insolvency," Newsom said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee's Editorial Board this month. "This is the budget. It's not a gross overstatement to say what I just said – insolvency."

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Dan Geiger
Under pressure, California Assembly pitches alternatives to single-payer health care


Sacramento BEE


March 26, 2018 12:01 AM

California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is refusing to advance this year a controversial single-payer health care bill that would dramatically reshape the state's health care financing and delivery system. Instead, he's orchestrating an alternative, narrower approach that seeks to achieve universal coverage and make Obamacare more affordable.

Rendon this year gave lawmakers in his house "autonomy to come up with a package" of health care bills, he said in a recent interview. Now, without engaging the other side in the Senate, the Assembly has unveiled a major legislative push on health care that would expand coverage and lower consumer costs while laying the groundwork for a future system financed by taxpayers.

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Dan Geiger
Advocates for single-payer healthcare play the long game in California


The Mercury News

PUBLISHED: February 18, 2018 at 8:00 am | UPDATED: February 18, 2018 at 9:39 am

By many measures, the rambunctious campaign for a single-payer health care system in California appears to be floundering.

A bill that would replace the existing health care system with a new one run by a single-payer — specifically, the state government — and paid for with taxpayer money remains parked in the Assembly, with no sign of moving ahead. An effort by activists to recall Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon for shelving the bill has gone dormant. And an initiative that would lay the financial groundwork for a future single-payer system has little funding, undercutting its chances to qualify for the ballot.

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Dan Geiger
Opinion: Single-payer provides best cure for California health care

Nurses union says SB 562 is a humane alternative to our dysfunctional and often heartless profit-based health care system.

The Mercury News

PUBLISHED: February 6, 2018 at 6:30 am | UPDATED: February 6, 2018 at 9:24 am

Imagine you are enduring excruciating abdominal pain so severe it forces you to rush to the emergency room. When diagnostic tests conclude it’s ovarian cysts, not an appendicitis, as you feared, your insurance company informs you that they won’t cover the staggering $12,596 bill.

That happened to a Kentucky woman who is “covered” by Anthem, an insurer Californians know well. Anthem is adopting a new policy to deny ER claims it deems “non-urgent,” no matter how long you have been paying for insurance that is apparently useless when you need it the most.

Welcome to our dysfunctional and often heartless health care system, based on profits and ability to pay, and laden with discrimination based on gender, race, age, income and where you live.

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Dan Geiger
Health care, not taxes, is killing American competition


By David Steil

December 6, 2017

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., left, accompanied by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, to unveil their Medicare for All legislation to reform health care. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Congressional Republicans’ biggest argument for their tax plan is that it will increase our country’s economic competitiveness. As a mid-sized business owner and Republican who represented the 31st legislative district in Pennsylvania for 16 years, I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

There is no evidence to support Republicans’ claims that cutting taxes for wealthy individuals and large corporations will trickle down to create jobs and raise incomes. In fact, the state of Kansas tested this theory with disastrous consequences for its economy. Instead of increased wages and job creation, residents got cuts in crucial public services like shorter school calendars, delays in infrastructure repairs, and decreased aid to the state’s poorest residents. And never in the history of the United States has economic growth from tax cuts ever covered the loss of revenue.

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Dan Geiger
What Did Bernie Sanders Learn in His Weekend in Canada? (New York Times)


New York Times, November 3, 2017

TORONTO — As he tells it, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont fell in love with the Canadian health system 20 years ago when he brought a busload of his constituents across the border to buy cheaper prescription drugs. Now he wants to make Americans fall in love with his proposal to make the United States system a lot more like Canada’s.

That’s one reason he took the equivalent of a busload of staffers, American health care providers and journalists to Toronto last weekend, in a two-day trip that was part immersion, part publicity tour. Canadian government officials and hospital executives showed him high-tech care, compassionate providers and satisfied patients, all as videographers recorded.

He ended the trip with a speech at the University of Toronto titled, “What the U.S. Can Learn From Canadian Health Care.”

But our question is this: What did Bernie Sanders learn from his weekend in Canada?

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Dan Geiger

Posted by HealthyCA | Oct 25, 2017 | California Nurses AssociationPolitical ActionSingle-Payer Healthcare

The California Nurses Association and the campaign for the Healthy California Act, a coalition comprised of 350 organizations representing over six million Californians, held high-energy, well-attended rallies at the state Capitol for two days, Oct. 23 and 24, in support of SB 562, legislation that would guarantee health coverage to all Californians and eliminate premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket health costs.

The rallies were scheduled to coincide with the first round of Assembly Select Committee Hearings on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon created the so-called Select Committee as a stalling tactic, rather than follow democratic process and allow SB 562 to move forward in the Assembly after it passed the Senate in June.

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Dan Geiger
Why business should demand single-payer health care (San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego Union-Tribune

October 17, 2017


The powerhouse of America’s economy — small business — is being sabotaged. Yes, sabotaged — not by taxes, but by our health care system.

Take it from Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, who referred to our health care system as “the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.” He asserts that medical costs harm the economy much more than taxes, and he and Berkshire’s vice chairman Charlie Munger (a Republican) favor a single-payer solution, sometimes referred to as “Medicare-for-all.”

Small businesses are a huge sector of the California economy, representing more than 99 percent of all state businesses and providing jobs for 6.8 million, nearly half of all California’s private employees.

Yet small businesses are among the most negatively impacted by our nation’s health care system’s runaway costs and corporate insurance system. Private businesses spent $637 billion on private health insurance in 2015 and are projected to spend more than $1 trillion by 2025. Healthcare costs represent more than 17 percent of U.S. GDP, significantly higher than any country in the world.

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Dan Geiger
Opinion: Does the gig economy mean it’s time for Medicare-For-All? (East Bay Times)

East Bay Times


PUBLISHED: October 7, 2017 at 9:00 am | UPDATED: October 8, 2017 at 7:26 am

Silicon Valley is the engine of the rapidly growing gig-economy. Consumers love the convenience of having goods and services delivered right to their door at the push of a button. Many workers are enjoying the benefits of making their own hours and minimal corporate oversight.

But there’s one big problem: many of these workers are classified as 1099 contractors, rather than employees.

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Dan Geiger
“Medicare for all” could be cheaper than you think


This piece originally appeared on The Conversation.

Public support for single-payer health care has been rising in recent months amid failed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

That’s perhaps why Sen. Bernie Sanders on September 13 introduced a new version of his single-payer plan with the support of 16 Democratic colleagues, a sharp rise from 2013 when none signed on to a similar proposal. It would not only expand Medicare to all Americans but make it more comprehensive by covering more services like mental health, dental care and vision, all without copayments or deductibles.

But Sanders’s plan would come at a steep price: likely more than US$14 trillion over the first decade, based on an estimate I did of a previous version.

There is, however, a simpler and less costly path toward single-payer, and it may have a better chance of success: Simply strike the words “who are age 65 or over” from the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act that created Medicare and, voila, everyone (who wants) would be covered by the existing Medicare program.

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Dan Geiger