Tag Archives: SB810

Health care: Why not the best?

Healthcare is a basic human right. The current healthcare system in America is dysfunctional and expensive. The bill that will pass in DC, eventually, will at best point in the direction of the need to make further changes, but most probably it will be the last time healthcare is tackled at the national level for quite a while.

We know that a Single Payer system is by far the best because it pays for itself by cutting down administrative costs to about 3%. And we understand that by allowing a government run insurance company to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies the cost of medicines will be reduced dramatically. In California these two items account for about 50% of all costs.

Single Payer Senate Bill 810 has a chance of becoming a reality in the most populous State. It is being discussed in the California Assembly as we speak.

When this happens other states may follow. And then we will all have healthcare at reasonable costs while maintaining the same quality of a privately run healthcare provider system paid by health insurance managed by the government.

Most Americans support this once they understand how it works.

Below I explain how you can help make SB 810 a reality and prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths.

First some basic points about SB 810 a.k.a. California Health Insurance Reliability Act (CHIRA);

   SB 810 (Leno), the California Health Insurance Reliability Act, (CHIRA), would provide fiscally sound, affordable health insurance coverage to all Californians, provide every Californian the right to choose his or her own physician and control health cost inflation.

   Reliable Coverage: Eligibility is based on residency, instead of on employment or income. Under CHIRA, all residents are covered. No California resident will ever again lose his or her health insurance because of unaffordable insurance premiums, or because he or she changes or loses a job, or goes to or graduates from college or has a pre-existing medical condition.

   Affordable: The plan involves NO NEW SPENDING on health care. The system will be paid for by federal, state and county monies already being spent on health care and by affordable insurance premiums that replace all premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket payments and co-pays now paid by employers and consumers.

   Efficient: CHIRA eliminates waste by consolidating the functions of many insurance companies into one comprehensive insurance plan, saving the state and consumers billions of dollars each year. Currently it’s estimated that half of every dollar spent on health care is squandered on clinical and administrative waste, insurance company profits, and overpriced pharmaceuticals. CHIRA is based on a model that has been estimated to save California about $20 billion through reduced administrative costs in the first year alone.

   Under CHIRA, California will use its huge purchasing power to buy prescription drugs and durable medical equipment in bulk. CHIRA is the sole health reform that enables California to use its full purchasing power to negotiate the deepest savings. It has been estimated that this model of systemwide bulk purchasing could save California $5.2 billion in the first year .

   Most importantly, CHIRA will make our health care system more reliable and secure by stabilizing the growth in health spending; linking spending increases to state GDP and population growth, employment rates and other relevant demographic indicators. CHIRA will combine needed cost controls with medical standards that use the best available medical science, and place an emphasis on preventative and primary care to improve California’s overall health in a way that also saves billions of dollars.

   High Quality: Under CHIRA, consumers have total freedom to choose their personal primary care provider. Health care providers and facilities will receive fair reimbursement for all covered services they provide. CHIRA utilizes proven financial incentives that support the delivery of high quality care, including bonuses for providers working in rural or under-served areas. The plan invests in needed health care infrastructure such as electronic claims and reimbursement systems and statewide medical databases that improve health care quality .

   Benefits: Coverage includes all care prescribed by a patient’s health care provider that meets accepted standards of care and practice. Specifically, coverage includes hospital, medical, surgical, and mental health; dental and vision care; prescription drugs and medical equipment, such as hearing aids; emergency care including ambulance; skilled nursing care after hospitalization; substance abuse recovery programs; health education and translation services, including services for those with hearing and vision impairments; transportation needed to access covered services, diagnostic testing; and hospice care.

   CHIRA offers California a broad and clear vision for a remodeled health care system that will provide high quality I affordable and reliable health care for all residents.

SB 810 started 5 years ago as SB 840 sponsored by Senator Sheila Kuehl, and it was vetoed twice by Schwarzenegger. Now supported by Senator Mark Leno, it is the most vetted, polished and researched healthcare reform bill anywhere and California OneCare and its supporting organizations have are putting into effect a very elaborate three year plan to inform the public and support the passage. It does involve electing a Governor that supports the bill next November, but that is a whole other story.

The bill itself is not difficult to read. No need to be wonkish to understand it.

SB 810

It essentially establishes a government run health insurance company.  Good bye and good riddance to all current expensive and dysfunctional private insurance companies.

     140000.  There is hereby established in state government the

   California Healthcare System, which shall be administered by the

   California Healthcare Agency, an independent agency under the control

   of the Healthcare Commissioner.

     140000.6.  No health care service plan contract or health

   insurance policy, except for the California Healthcare System plan,

   may be sold in California for services provided by the system.

How you can help;

Vote for California OneCare at Change.org.  If it wins in the healthcare category it will get a lot of visibility.

If you are a healthcare and or a California blogger, please help get the word out.

You can also join California OneCare or at least join its newly activated Facebook page.

Together we can do it!

Health Care Bills Advance In Assembly

The Senate Health Committee held its first hearing on SB810 (Leno), the single-payer health bill.  While I’ve made my belief in the inevitable problems of states trying to fund health care when they cannot deficit spend well-known, if I was on that committee I’d go ahead and vote for it.  But I recognize the need to strengthen the broken health care system on all fronts, given the political realities that the Governor has vetoed single-payer multiple times in the past, and that the Republicans will never sign off on the funding, and so even if by some miracle the Governor put pen to paper we would have to wait until 2010 for full passage, and another year for implementation.  In the interim, a number of very interesting health care reforms have cleared the Assembly Health Committee already, and progressives should take notice of them.  Anthony Wright has some of the details.

The Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday approved a number of key health consumer protections. The measures would expand guarantees of coverage to Californians who are underinsured, uninsured or, in some cases, just plain inadequately served by their health care providers.

One of the bills would sharply increase civil fines in response to the insurer practice of retroactively canceling policies after patients become sick and need expensive treatments. Another would address a vast, and quickly expanding, demographic of the uninsured–young adults transitioning between school and careers that offer financial stability and benefits.

Yet another would require insurance brokers and employees to reveal their financial interests-such as paid commissions – in selling certain health care policies. One measure would require private providers to cover more of the costs of doctor-ordered medical equipment, something Medicaid and MediCal already do.

See the post for the full details on AB1521 (insurers revealing their commissions), AB730 (big fines for rescissions), AB29 (raising the age limit for dependent coverage from 19 to 26) and AB214 (requiring health plans to cover durable medical equipment).  All 4 would have an immediate and tangible benefit for Californians, and all are common-sense reforms.  Fining rescissions would attack the inequities in the system and prevent fraud, as would the agent commission rule.  Raising the age limit would provide stability for those young people transitioning from college to starting a career, and adding protections for what is insured also adds stability (the fact that people can be made to pay for their own wheelchair is kind of nuts).  None of these deal with the long-term cost drivers that bust state and federal budgets, and none deal comprehensively with the crisis of the uninsured.  But all of them help, and we need to press forward on all fronts right now.