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What does Single Payer health insurance mean and what is SB 562?

06-03-2017 by Colleen King

Okay, I've been MIA as far as writing articles because things have been busy, including me getting married. But the prospect of SB 562 passing in our state has made me shake the dust off my writing.

SB 562 is proposing a 'single payer' system--this means the State of California would be paying the bills. NO more insurance companies, no more private insurance, individual or group health benefits. Or Medicare. Or MediCal. The current cost estimate is about $400 billiion a year, which is about double the entire State budget. Where is that going to come from? Well, part of it, according to the authors of the bill, would come from the existing funding from the Federal Government for Medicare and MediCal. Really? That's a stretch, as the Feds would have to sign off on that, so who knows. That would account for about $200 billion of the funding, the rest would need need to come from taxes.  Great.

There are many facets to this concept, so there will be more articles coming soon. Two terms that are interchanged, incorrectly, are 'single payer' and 'universal coverage.' They are not synonymous. Single payer means one entity writes the checks, universal coverage means everyone's covered, or able to be covered, but there could be more than one 'payer.' So in theory, with the Affordable (?) Care Act, we have universal coverage, everyone has access to coverage but not everyone buys it.  We still need to deal with affordability, which the ACA hasn't necessarily done.

SB 562 was passed in the Senate yesterday, now it goes to the Assembly. It's a flawed bill, another one of those 'pass it, then we can work out the details' kind of thing. Sound familiar? I watched some of the hearing yesterday, and support and opposition pretty much fell along party lines. But there were a couple of Dems who really pulled a fence straddler, in my opinion. They talked about the flaws in the bill, how incomplete it was and how 'ordinarily' they wouldn't vote for something like this but they like the general concept and there still needs to be a conversation on the subject. So this way, no matter what happens, feels like they can proclaim victory for their vote. Oh geez!

Of course then there is the little discussed hidden secret, that more Dems are against it than are willing to admit it. They are presuming Gov. Brown will veto it, that's their safety net. So they can appear to be for it, then be protected from the fall out if the Governor vetoes it. Keep in mind, this is the same State Legislature that had a bill a couple of years ago that would require all legislators to buy through Covered California, the health insurance exchange, and it didn't even make it out of committee, it crashed and burned before it could go for a vote. Talk about hypocrisy! Here's a link to an LA Times article yesterday about what this could mean for consumers. It's not completely unbiased of course, but we 'have to start the conversation.' Read article


Category: Health care reform

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