California Dreaming: The Golden State’s New Health Plan

Repeal and replace won't matter if these two Democratic legislators wind up getting their way

Unhappy with any plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, two Democratic California lawmakers are pushing for what they’re calling the “Californians for a Healthy California Act.”

Currently sitting in committee and scheduled for action on or after March 23, SB 562 would replace private medical insurance companies with a government health care system. It would also get rid of Medi-Cal and Medicaid, and cover all 38 million Californians. That coverage would also apply to all illegal immigrants.

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The bill contains few details — including the price tag and how legislators plan to cover it. But the intent is to create a single-payer system that would cover everyone.

“Californians, as individuals, employers, and taxpayers have experienced a rise in the cost of health care and health care coverage in recent years, including rising premiums, deductibles, and copays, as well as restricted provider networks and high out-of-network charges,” the language in the bill states.

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Proponents say it would make health care more affordable and efficient — which is ironic. The proposal would give Californians even more of the same issues they’re complaining about under the existing Affordable Care Act.

Opponents argue taxpayers will suffer and the government will gain even more power.

Colorado voters turned down a similar proposal last November amid concerns about the cost. A single-payer plan failed in Vermont in 2014 after the state couldn’t figure out how to finance it.

“Universal health care solutions have failed in every single state that they have been tried. I would predict California’s version of ACA will fail more rapidly than the federal version,” said one physician.

“I am happy to see a state take innovative approaches to problems that are much better approached at the local rather than federal level,” said Dr. Gerard Gianoli, co-founder of the Ear and Balance Institute in Covington, Louisiana, and a clinical associate professor at Tulane University School of Medicine.

The one big difference between California and the federal government is that the state of California has to balance its budget, whereas the federal government does not, he added.

“California will be faced with some very hard choices once the state goes down this path.”

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“Our country’s political system was developed for exactly this. In the case of California wanting to develop its own version of Obamacare, I am in favor of whatever experimentation the California voters want. If their version of Obamacare is viable, then it can be replicated for other states. That said, universal health care solutions have failed in every single state that they have been tried. I would predict that California’s version of ACA will fail more rapidly than the federal version, and for the same reasons,” Gianoli told LifeZette.

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Washington, D.C.-based cardiologist Dr. Ramin Oskoui agreed. “Single-payer simply masks costs and makes mediocre the standard of care. In addition to expanding an unproductive medical bureaucracy to run it all, it does nothing to lower drug prices or break the medical monopolistic practices that make health care so expensive.”

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Both believe costs in California will spiral out of control if the act passes, or that there will be significant restriction on the services rendered.

“Why do people who feel we cannot afford to pay for health care seem to believe we can afford to pay for health care and a big government bureaucracy to run it as well?” said Gianoli. “Californians should listen to Einstein: ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.'”

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