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06-14-2017 by Colleen King
I think we've established that health insurance rates have gone nuts, health care reform has gotten some people covered who couldn't get it before, but from my side of the desk, there are still problems that need to be worked out. So along comes SB 562, and all you need to do is get rid of the greedy insurance companies, let the state take over, and then it will all be fine--really?
I was at a town hall meeting weekend before last sponsored by a couple of our local state legislators who think this is the way to go. The current estimate before even getting started is $400 billion, which is more than the entire state budget. Where will that come from? Well, keep in mind that if this bill passes, the intent is that it will replace ALL health insurance in the state--plans from employers, individual health plans, MEDICARE, MediCal, TriCare, Children's Health plan and even the regional centers that help the developmentally disabled. The intent is that they (the appointed, not elected, board who will run this) will then work to secure waivers for all federal programs to have the funding rerouted to the tune of $200 billion to help pay for this. Good luck with that.
The remaining estimated $200 billion will come from thee and me--there is talk of a 15% payroll tax, 2.3% sales tax, a gross receipts tax of 2.3% on business making more than $2 million a year and who knows what else. But that's okay, because we won't be paying insurance premiums. Hhhmmm....what about the people that aren't paying them now? The estimated cost per person is $9200--not per household, per family, but per person. I have a tough time believing that Washington DC is going to grant the re-routing of Federal funding to start a new program, but I'm no clairvoyant.
And all of this is without truly knowing the cost of the plan ultimately. How are doctors and hospitals going to be paid? If it's based on Medicare or god forbid, MediCal rates, physicians are already not happy with that, so good luck. And the way the plans are proposed to be structured, there will be no deductibles, no copays, just go and be taken care of. That's not going to cost a fortune is it? Keep in mind, 'free' is very expensive--read on.
At this town hall, there were representatives from the California Nurses Association who are strongly behind this. There was one impassioned woman who was convinced that the study they commissioned would save around $37 billion, because we're already spending $368 billion, and by getting the middle man out of the way, doctors and nurses would be able to just take care of people without 'red tape,' seeking authorizations, and dealing with bureaucracies. That's when I had to step away. So, I guess she's saying they can do whatever, whenever? I'm a nurse, I'm still licensed as an RN, and this isn't my first rodeo. Do you know why insurance cost went up over time? Cost of care went up over time, and then there's fraud--insurance on all fronts has it, whether it's private insurance or Medicare/MediCal. Who's going to be watching that? And Page 7 of this study said, they can't account for everything, basically this is an educated guess. 85 pages of educated guessing. Not to slam it, but it's not THE definitive explanation of how it will work. It's an educated guess, haven't we had enough of those?