SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Everyone in California could soon be eligible for state-funded health care.
On Monday, the state legislature is expected to vote on AB 1400a bill to create “CalCare” – a statewide, single-payer health care plan to cover all California residents.
“The reality is that our health care system has far too many loopholes, even for those who have insurance,” says Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-27), who drafted the bill.
In addition to primary health care, CalCare would cover prescription drugs, medical devices, mental health services, dentistry, vision care, emergency services and transportation, palliative care, and nursing. trained, dialysis and pre/postnatal care.
Recent studies show that 7% of the state’s residents do not have health care. And Kalra says the current form of health insurance still has significant shortcomings for those covered.
“We want to get rid of that,” he says. “Let’s get rid of bonuses, copayments and completely detach health care from employment, which is an incredibly inefficient and archaic way to do it.
But an analysis of the bill shows CalCare would cost the state about $400 billion. And AB 1400 only provides the system framework.
To get the money, Kalra and other lawmakers proposed AAFC 11, a separate constitutional amendment bill that would give the state control of all Medi-Cal and Medicare funds. It would also create a handful of new taxes.
According to the ACA 11, every company with a turnover of more than two million dollars would pay an excise tax of 2.3% on its gross receipts.
Any business with more than 50 employees would also pay a 1.5% payroll tax.
Companies would face another 1% payroll tax for every employee earning more than $49,900.
And people earning more than $149,509 would be subject to progressive income tax. It would start at 0.5% and go up to 2.5% for anyone earning around $2.5 million or more.
Because it creates new taxes, voters are expected to approve ACA 11 with a 2/3 majority in a future election.
“It’s a shame,” said MP Marie Waldron (R-75). “Because high taxes are going to result, and we’re going to see less care.”
Waldron points out that the $400 billion prize is greater than the entire state budget Governor Gavin Newsom just proposed.
“Bureaucrats like those who run the DMV and the employment development department known as EDD will be in charge of people’s health care,” Waldron said. “The problem is that the system is broken. But instead of creating this larger bureaucratic system based on the existing problems that we have, we should go back and look at a few things.”
Waldron says it would be best to find out why 7% of Californians are still uninsured and fix that problem. She also says streamlining the current system while adding more transparency and accountability will help.
She and other Republicans in the Legislative Assembly launched an online petition for those who oppose the bill.
Kalra believes CalCare will declare state money on health care by eliminating industry profits and reducing administrative costs and fraud.
“We’re already being ripped off,” Kalra says. “We are already spending a fortune right now on the current system which is inefficient and immoral in many ways. And we can do better.”
AB 1400 still has a long way to go before CalCare can begin.
Because AB 1400 was introduced in the 2021 legislative session, it must be passed by the Assembly by January 31, 2022, or the bill will be considered “dead” for the session.
If passed, the Senate must also approve it and the governor must sign the bill.
Next, voters will need to pass ACA 11. If any of these do not occur, CalCare will fail.