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A 'Moral Model' Nation: California's Medicare for All Plan Clears State Senate


A 'Moral Model' Nation: California's Medicare for All Plan Clears State Senate

Jon Queally, staff writer

A bill that would create the first state-level single payer healthcare system in the United States passed the California Senate on Thursday, generating applause as a major step forward in creating a necessary proving ground for a national 'Medicare for All' program that could ultimately cover every American.

With a vote of 23-14, the Healthy California Act (SB 562) passed in the Democratic-controlled chamber largely along party lines.


Trump is inspiring opposition to the Republican/conservative agenda! Not only people but cities and towns and states are becoming part of the Resistance. Trump’s autocratic greed, corruption and stupidity is making it clearer and clearer for people that their well being lies in Resistance to the Repub /ultra conservative agenda. Trump’s Band of Billionaires oligarchy are only out for themseles and people in this country (not just California) are seeing it!

Heck, the world is seeing it too. It just may be that because of Trump that people around the world will finally wake up to the danger this ultra conservative corporate agenda and anti-environment exploitation presents for their future. In fact they may become more wary of the right’s agenda in general.


“Reducing the cost of healthcare in California by 18%” rings alarm bells at every insurance and drug company in Murka and beyond. An 18% savings for you and me is an 18% revenue reduction for them. Just as they did when they recalled Governor Gray Davis the last time single payer came close in 2003, the corporations will fight tooth and nail to stop California from being the catalyst for Murkin single payer.


Passed largely upon party lines.

When are the Republicans going to realize the fundamentals of treating people with respect.

“If you disrespect anybody that you run in to
How in the world do you think anybody’s s’posed to respect you

Take the sheet off your face, boy, it’s a brand new day”

The Staple Singers - Respect Yourself


You meant the Murkin Taliban Party, right ?


Mentioned this in another thread, but Republicans want to recall Josh Norman from the 29th District. If that happens, they can stop this bill. There will be other choke points along the way, but this is the first. Now is the time to support Democrats in the legislature and make a united front.


Recalling Governor Davis and installing Arnold the Terminator in 2003 stopped single payer last time around. Arnold vetoes it twice during his first year in office. Recalls are based on fake news and rarely include very many facts that are not alternative facts.


Does anyone know of a good link to go to for understanding the details on how this is going to be funded? I’m starting to get excited, but I was under the impression that a whole lot on the finance side has yet to be worked out and I can imagine that this work can make or break our state from being first to Single Payer. I would have thought it would be Vermont but financing made some of the people in power skittish when it was their shot. I think the majority of the people are behind the concept overall (polls are always tricky depending on how you word things, but I think in this case we have momentum), but if we don’t get the financial details right, I’m afraid we won’t hold on to that majority.

Specifically, I don’t think we can completely unburden the companies who pay for part of the health care cost now (e.g. if we pay for Single Payer by the personal income tax) but at the same time I want all companies who aren’t Health Insurance companies to be 100% behind this change because it won’t cost them significantly more and it unburdens them from keeping track of stuff unrelated to what they are actually producing. Single Payer proponents have been making this point for decades - comparing how much costs of a car made in US and a car made in Canada go to health insurance. Also we want to end up in a tax structure (payroll, corporate, personal income, consumption, …) where a company doesn’t have too much of a disincentive to hire an additional worker (which payroll taxes can do sometimes) as that is counteproductive.


I skimmed the story too fast the first time and see that there is an 85 page PDF on the Economic Analysis linked to the story. It will take me a while to look it over, but the Abstract says this:

We propose two new taxes to generate the revenue required to offset the loss of private insurance spending: a gross receipts tax of 2.3 percent and a sales tax of 2.3 percent, along with exemptions and tax credits for small business owners and low-income families to promote tax-burden equity. Within this proposed tax framework, Healthy California can achieve both lower costs and greater equity in the provision of health care in California for both families and businesses of all sizes. Thus, net health care spending for middle-income families will fall by between 2.6 – 9.1 percent of income. Small firms that have been providing private health care coverage for their workers will experience a 22 percent decline in their health-care costs as a share of payroll. The small firms that have not provided coverage will still make zero payments for health care under Healthy California through their gross receipts tax exemption. Medium-sized firms will see their health care costs fall by between 6.8 and 13.4 percent as a share of payroll relative to the existing system. Firms with up to 500 employees will experience a 5.7 percent fall, and the largest firms, with over 500 employees, will experience a 0.6 percent fall as a share of payroll relative to the existing system.

So on the surface one would think most non-insurance businesses would be behind this change. I’ll be interested to see what happens next.


I am SOOO delighted @ CA’s action. Although I live in the benighted, reactionary, backward state of SC [if I remind y’all that Lindsey Graham is a Senator + another Rethug is the 2nd one, y’all will immediately know whereof I write]—SOOO,
in my joy, I donated some $$$ to the CourageCalifornia initiative. Here’s urging all who can to follow my example.
As I’ve written before, the problem w/impeachingTheOrangeOne is that MIKEPENCE is a fundamentalist reactionary
nutcase–nothing Christian about him.


There will be a Conference Call on June 25, on Single Payer/Improved Medicare For All join us from every part of the US!

Here are the details:

June 25, 8 pm Eastern Time

dial: (319) 527-9176

access code: 848-053

These calls are being organized by the filmmakers of Now Is The Time and The Healthcare Movie



Ironically Arnold Schwarengroper’s birth country, Austia, has national health care and their costs to cover all people in the country, including non citizens, is about half the per capita cost in the US. Besides immediately vetoing the single payer bill, he ended the law suit against “The Smartest Guys in the Room” who had pillaged CA electricity users to the tune of $9 billion. Remember Gray Davis faced recall because of his handling of that manufactured and rigged energy crisis that was caused by “freeing” up CA’s market. Ken Lay, whose ghost still stalks CA, visited Scharzengroper to encourage him to run. Scharzengroper ran on the idea that he was so rich he could not be bought. Sound familiar? Davis could have legally solved the problem by turning all privately held utilities, such as PG&E into publicly held utilities like LAP&W & SACMUD that sold power to the other utilities at a profit.
In 1995 CA had prop 37 for the voters to choose a single payer. It lost 3-1 thanks to insurance companies spending $125 million to lie and defeat it. That system would have been funded with a small business and personal tax plus folding in the medical part of Worker’s Comp, 50%, and Medicare, State disability and some other already existing taxes. As a small business person at the time, I calculated it would save me 20% on my employees health insurance and in addition give me and my family health insurance at no additional cost. I tried but was unable to penetrate the wall that my fellow business people had against a “socialist” system kindly manufactured and promoted by the insurance companies.


This time we must unite to overcome the lies and deception. The people of California know the media will favor the corporate perspective. Jerry Brown better not stand in the way or he will be crushed.

Now is the time!


Well done, California! New Mexico has been trying for years to do this. Maybe you will inspire new momentum for our movement.


I saw a worthwhile (IMHO) opinion-piece about this proposal in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago.
– The most immediate problem with the proposal is (no surprise!) that it is all indulgence up front, same as Obama’s PPACA, and paying for it is neglected until much later.
– As an explicitly mentioned example, under the current CA proposal anyone can go to any doctor or hospital for anything, and the state will pay for it. No gatekeepers, no cost controls.
– We can therefore guess, correctly, that very soon the costs and cost growth will exceed the state’s ability to pay for it.

As a semi-parallel, many years ago I exchanged emails with someone in Alberta Canada. The starting point was that when Alberta started their Medicare program (their name for Canada’s single payer) they did the same thing. Show up and get treated, the province will pay. They got flooded by people coming up from Montana for the free care. They had to issue Medicare cards to those who would be covered, and others (Montanans) would have to pay money. He thought it reflected shamefully on America and Montana that we don’t also provide ‘free’ care. (It still costs money, so it’s not ‘free’.) I thought that it reflects the lengths people will go to to get something for ‘free’.


One of the easiest ways to combat an idea is to make it look foolish. Our “socalled” president is doing our work for us. If an opponent pulls this trick it looks like a cheap shot. When you do it yourself, not so much.


What are the bill’s prospects in the State Assembly? And what has Gov. Brown said about single-payer recently?


Friday’s Wall Street Journal, June 2nd 2017, page A16, also had an opinion piece about California’s proposed Single Payer Plan, by Sally Pipes. I thought the last 4 paragraphs were the most interesting:

  • People here admire Canada’s plan. Ms. Pipes points out that wait times for treatment in Canada have doubled in the last several years.
  • The notion of some that California can cap the wages of doctors would face the same fate as any other wage-price control scheme. The best new young doctors will seek and get jobs outside the state, rather than have their pay limited.


So we incentivize them to stay in the system, at least for a few years, and build their street credibility, then go with our blessings to private practice, but know this that if we need your services you are still in the reserves, so to speak.


There’s a long way to go yet. The Assembly has the hard task of appropriating the money for the bill, and this is where the bill’s odds get shaky. They’ve got to figure out transition costs in addition to what kind of taxes to initiate to support the law. The current discussion is of a 15% payroll tax, but without transition costs from our current system to the new one covered.

The governor’s been lukewarm. Given we just passed a 12 cent gas tax increase (much needed), I think he’s cautious about adding another increase to the ballot. That said, we’ve got the hardest part for the bill, financing, in front of us so we are still in early days.