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New Findings – SB 562 Would Cut State Spending on Healthcare by 18% — and Guarantee Care for All

  • Posted: May 31st, 2017

OAKLAND, Calif. — SB 562, the Healthy California Act, would cut current spending on healthcare in California by 18 percent – and produce substantial savings for households in healthcare costs as a share of their income, and California businesses, which would also see reduced payroll costs for health care expenditures, according to new research findings released today.

Most importantly, the bill would guarantee full health coverage for all Californians, without the devastating deductibles and co-pays that prompt many to ration needed care. The study notes that 36 percent of all insured Californians, 12 million people, remain underinsured – paying for premiums but often unable to access care due to high out of pocket costs – and another 7.5 percent, 2.7 million Californians, remain fully uninsured, even with improvements under the Affordable Care Act.

Significantly the proposed plan would sharply reduce what middle-income California families now spend out of pocket for health care costs as a share of their income by up to 9 percent.

In sum– the savings amount to a 9 percent raise for California workers.

California businesses who currently provide health benefits for employees would also see a decline in their payroll costs by up to 22 percent for small businesses and up to 13 percent for medium size businesses – with the added benefit of a healthier, more productive population.

That’s the findings of an “Economic Analysis of the Healthy California Single-Payer Health Care Proposal (SB 562),” a research study by a team of economists at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, led by Dr. Robert Pollin, a premiere U.S. economist and author of a number of books on economic policy. Dr. James Heintz, Dr. Peter Arno, and Dr. Jeannette Wicks-Lim, all of PERI, also authored the study. The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United sponsored the study.

Under the Healthy California Act, California’s total spending on health care, with savings of 18 percent produced by reductions in administrative costs, the use of state bulk purchasing power, and improved patient care delivery, would drop to $331 billion. But that figure includes $225 billion of current taxpayer funded spending on Medicare, Medicaid, tax subsidies paid to insurers for health expenses of families and households.

With the savings produced by a single payer financing system, and the transfer of the 71 percent of taxpayer funded spending currently by Medicare, Medicaid and taxpayer subsidies to insurers for partial payment private insurance costs for families and households, an additional $106 billion will be needed – replacing the huge burden of what Californians now pay to insurers and other health care corporations in premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket health care costs, and the social impact that imposes for people who skip needed care due to debilitating cost.

The study proposes achieving that added revenue through two modest taxes, a 2.3 percent on gross business revenue receipts – exempting the first $2 million in receipts to eliminate the cost for small businesses – and a new 2.3 percent sales tax that would exempt all spending on housing, utilities, services, and food at home, to mitigate the impact for low and moderate income Californians. The lowest income Californians would receive a tax credit, fully offsetting their tax share.

“What this new study proves is that we can finally achieve the dream of guaranteeing health care for all Californians, without the punishment of crippling out of pocket costs, at far less than what was predicted by those who make enormous profits off the pain and suffering of everyday Californians,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, CNA/NNU executive director.

“We know from the experiences of other countries across the world that we can reduce overall spending, and produce a more effective, humane health care system. Now it is up to us as a society to decide what are our priorities, what we consider should be the responsibility to ensure that health care is a right, a public good, and the moral choice to make as a people,” DeMoro said.

SB 562 is eligible for a vote by the California Senate this week. It would establish an improved Medicare for all type system in California. State Senators Ricardo Lara and Toni G. Atkins introduced the bill, joined by Senators Benjamin Allen, Cathleen Galgiani, Mike McGuire, Nancy Skinner, and Scott Wiener as co-authors. CNA is the primary sponsor of the bill, joined by the Healthy California Campaign

Assembly Members Rob Bonta, David Chiu, Laura Friedman, Ash Kalra, Kevin McCarty, Adrin Nazarian, Mark Stone, and Tony Thurmond are also co-authors of the bill.

The threat of repeal of the ACA by Congress and the Trump Administration would further exacerbate the health crisis for many, making SB 562 even more timely.


For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 — 2:30pm
Organization Profile:

Michael Lighty, 510–772-8384,
Don Nielsen, 559–647-7732 or
Charles Idelson, 510–273-2246

National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.

Read Full Article on Common Dreams here.

New York Getting Closer to Enacting State Single Payer System

  • Posted: Apr 5th, 2017

Activists Rally: Demand Albany Pass NY Single-Payer Bill

By 14 hours ago

With the country once again debating the future of health care, activists rallied Tuesday in Albany in support of a bill that would create a universal, publicly-financed health-insurance plan for all New Yorkers.

Rallygoer and Green Party candidate for Albany mayor Dan Plaat believes having a state single-payer plan in place would have a positive impact on local economics.   “It reminds me a lot of the anti-fracking movement. Each year the rally gets a little bit bigger. More partners are made and more people catch on to the necessity and the importance of this issue in getting this law passed, this piece of policy done.”

The New York Health Act has passed twice in the Assembly, which expects to pass it again for the third year in a row. Assembly Health Committee Chair and bill sponsor Democrat Dick Gottfried says support for universal health care is growing with the public and in the state Senate, where it is co-sponsored by nearly half of all senators.

The bill would replace private insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays, restricted provider networks and out-of-network charges. It would provide comprehensive health coverage for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, health, or employment status, with full choice of doctors and other providers.

Katie Robbins is the Executive Director of the New York Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.   “Studies have shown that if the New York Health Act were passed and implemented, you’d have a health care system where 98 percent of New Yorkers would pay less than they do now for health care. Health care costs are rising. The average family plan is $18,000 a year. People know that the increasing deductibles and co-pays, I mean we all know that feeling, if you get sick you worry, ‘Oh shoot, how am I going to pay for this?’ Under our system, we pay for it up front through a payroll tax as well as a tax on capital gains. And then when you need to sue the system, you don’t have to worry about having the money at the time you get sick. It ends this kind of Byzantine practice of tying your health insurance to your job or your marriage.”

The program would be publicly funded based on ability to pay and would eliminate the local share of Medicaid, currently funded through county property taxes.

Platt insists health care should be considered a basic right, nationally and locally.    “It would be a great benefit to the city of Albany, all of the residents, because it is ‘everybody in, nobody out.’”

Platt’s campaign platform include economics, the environment, social justice and human rights. He says New York Health affects and is affected by all of these areas.

Robbins notes the bill has 30 co-sponsors in the state Senate, two votes short of a majority. Republicans control the chamber in a power-sharing agreement with the Independent Democratic Conference, and it’s a long shot to reach the floor for a vote.   “I think it would start a trend in the country so that other states would do it, and then eventually we would adopt a national ‘Medicare for all’ system that would guarantee health care as a right to all residents of this country. And New York can be the first state to do it, start the trend and lead the way.”

A 2015 study by a UMass Amherst professor** estimated that the New York Health Act, if implemented,  would save almost $45 billion in the first year alone, reducing burdensome billing expenses, administrative waste in the insurance industry, monopolistic pricing of drugs and medical devices, and fraud.

Single Payer Rally in Albany

Sanders to offer single payer plan

  • Posted: Mar 30th, 2017

Posted from Politico by: Christiano Lima

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday he planned to introduce a single-payer health care plan to Congress, inviting Republican leaders to negotiate the measure.

“I’m going to introduce a Medicare-for-all single-payer program,” Sanders told anchor Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.” The Vermont senator, who has repeatedly stated his support for such a plan in the past, said he hoped to garner bipartisan support for the plan.

The former Democratic presidential candidate said such a plan could help to deliver on President Donald Trump’s pursuit of lowering prescription drug prices, adding that he’d look to work with the White House on the legislation.

“President Trump, come on board. Let’s work together,” Sanders said. “Let’s end the absurdity of Americans paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.”

Republicans, who hold a 237–193 edge in the House, seemingly had been in a position to pass health-care legislation without Democratic votes, but last week’s debacle set up the possibility that Trump might seek to reach out to Democrats.

The Vermont senator also ripped the Republican health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as “a disastrous piece of legislation,” echoing his comments Friday that the bill would’ve merely served as a tax break for the wealthy.

“The American people wanted it defeated,” he said. “And I’m glad that we were able to accomplish that.”

Bernie Sanders said such a plan could help to deliver on President Donald Trump’s pursuit of lowering prescription drug prices, | AP Photo

What Would Single Payer Look Like In California?

  • Posted: Mar 30th, 2017

Posted From the Los Angeles Times By: Melanie Mason

A proposal in California for a single-payer healthcare system would dramatically expand the state government’s presence in medical care and slash the role of insurance companies.

New amendments released Thursday fill in some key details on the universal healthcare measure proposed by state Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), although the biggest political question — how it would be paid for — remains unanswered.

Under the proposal, which was announced in February, the state would cover all medical expenses for every resident regardless of their income or immigration status, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health and nursing home care.

Insurers would be prohibited from offering benefits that cover the same services as the state.

The program would eliminate co-pays and deductibles, and patients would not need to get referrals to see eligible providers. The system would be administered by an unpaid nine-person board appointed by the governor and the Legislature.

A universal healthcare system run by the government has long been a dream of liberals, with many rallying behind insurgent Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ proposal for “Medicare for all” in the 2016 race.

After a GOP effort to replace Obamacare stalled last week, Sanders said he intends to introduce a nationwide single-payer bill in the U.S. Senate.

Proponents in California, who are no longer playing defense to preserve the Affordable Care Act, also touted a broader healthcare plan.

“With Republicans’ failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Californians really get what is at stake with their healthcare,” Lara said in a statement. “We have the chance to make universal healthcare a reality now. It’s time to talk about how we get to healthcare for all that covers more and costs less.”

The cost — sure to be the biggest hurdle for the measure — so far remains unknown. The authors say they intend to pay for the program through “broad-based revenue,” but details of a funding proposal have not been hashed out.

Gov. Jerry Brown sounded wary of a sprawling single-payer plan while speaking to reporters last week on his trip to Washington D.C.

“Where do you get the extra money? This is the whole question,” Brown said.

The bill is sponsored by the California Nurses Assn., which already has been rallying its members in support of the bill, SB 562.

“There has been a seismic shift in our political system through grassroots activism; we have an inspired, motivated base that will make its voice heard,” RoseAnn DeMoro, the labor group’s president, said in a statement.

Join Us in New York, NY!

  • Posted: Jan 7th, 2017

Single-Payer Strategy Conference

Jan. 13 – Jan. 15, 2017

You are invited to join hundreds of activists for a weekend of inspiration and strategy to win single-payer national health insurance! Click here for more info.

Doctors Report On America’s Health

  • Posted: Dec 10th, 2016

Two doctors and a nurse report on the state of America’s healthcare, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and their future under a Trump Administration. First-hand reports from the recent Physicians for a National Health Program national conference in Washington DC.

The Republican Healthcare Plan(s)
Jeff Gee, family physician and chair of the Bay Area chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, discusses Republican healthcare proposals and what’s likely to come under a Trump Administration.
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What’s Wrong with America’s Healthcare, and How it Got that Way
Alireza Rezapour M.D. – Internal Medicine and member of Physicians for a National Health Program.
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Winning Singlepayer Healthcare
How to fight for singlepayer healthcare, by Persephone Gee, RN, MSN City College of San Francisco Instructor of Nursing and AFT 2121 union member.
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Prop. 61 loses, Big Pharma wins

  • Posted: Nov 9th, 2016

From L.A. Times California props

Nov. 9, 2016, 12:50 p.m.

Prescription drug pricing measure Proposition 61 goes down to defeat

Christine Mai-Duc
(Alicia Chang / Los Angeles Times)

Proposition 61, the most expensive statewide initiative on the ballot this November, has been defeated by a 54–46 margin.

The ballot measure sought to lower prescription drug prices by requiring that state agencies pay no more for medicines than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Proponents of the measure, funded almost entirely by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, had argued that Proposition 61 would be a strong voter rebuke of pharmaceutical industry greed. Supporters included Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned up and down the state for the measure.

Drug companies led the campaign opposing the proposition, raising a record $109 million to defeat the measure. They argued the initiative could lead to higher drug costs for veterans and seniors if the pharmaceutical industry refused to sell the state medicines at lower prices.

Proponents of the measure raised more than $19 million to support it, and fundraising figures for both sides made it one of the priciest ballot measures in California history.

Director of UCLA Health Policy Research Center explains: “the crazy patchwork of health care financing we have in the U.S” and why single-payer makes sense

  • Posted: Sep 1st, 2016

Visit UCLA Site Here. Interview Re-posted to SPN website.

Three Questions for the Expert Gerald F. Kominski, PhD

Gerald F. Kominski, PhD

Gerald Kominski is the director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and co-author of a new policy brief on the share of taxpayer dollars that are spent on health care expenditures. In this brief interview, Kominski discusses how tax exemptions for employer-sponsored health insurance premiums benefit the rich more than the poor, why California’s share of Medicaid spending is 10 percentage points higher than the national average, and why a streamlined single-payer system might be preferable to the nation’s current “crazy patchwork” of health care financing.

Q:  California spends money on health care in a variety of ways, including through tax exemptions for employer-sponsored health insurance premiums. Can you explain how this works ? or does not work?

​ The premiums that employers and workers pay for employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) are exempt from taxation. These “foregone” taxes deduct $10.9 billion annually from the state coffers that could be spent on state programs like Medi-Cal and Healthy Families. Nationally, ESI tax subsidies are the third-largest health care program after Medicare and Medicaid, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. And the ESI exclusion doesn’t help low-wage workers much — it benefits those with the highest incomes who have the most generous health plans. More than anything, the tax exempt status of ESI seems like an inefficient way to finance employer-based insurance.

Q:  California’s share of Medicaid spending is 10 percentage points higher than the national average (27% versus 17%). Why is this?

​ Almost 33% of the population in California is enrolled in Medicaid, which is notably higher than average enrollment across the U.S.  California has done a much better job at enrollment and has embraced the Medicaid expansion under the ACA. The major disadvantage of having a higher share of public spending in California for both Medicaid and total health spending is that there are fewer funds provided by private insurers. This creates pressure on providers to compete more intensely for a smaller share of privately insured patients, because they are generally the most profitable.

When providers select patients based on their profitability, we find greater disparities in access at a time when we are trying to reduce and eliminate disparities by expanding public insurance programs. This isn’t a problem California can solve on its own, unless the state applies for a federal waiver to develop a single-payer system that puts everyone on equal footing.

Q:  Does the current system of multiple health care programs and health-related tax incentives make sense?

​Despite the great successes of the ACA nationally and in California, our findings focus attention once again on the crazy patchwork of health care financing we have in the U.S. I believe that Sen. Sanders’s campaign pledge of Medicare for All resonated with so many because it acknowledged a simple truth that most people understand intuitively; namely, that not only should everyone have health insurance, we shouldn’t have significantly different health care options for the poor, for seniors, and for the working population. Far from creating “one size fits all” as critics also complain, it is possible to design a single-payer system in the U.S. that provides multiple options, subject to minimum benefit requirements that guarantee a floor for everyone.

Now that we have health insurance exchanges as a result of the ACA, maybe ACA 2.0 should find a way to move ESI, Medicare Part C, and Medicaid eligible populations into those exchanges so that insurers are required to compete for all categories of insurance, not just those they find most profitable.

Or, if insurers like Aetna don’t really want to sell health insurance, it might be time to pull the plug on this grand 87-year “experiment” with trying to make private insurance markets work, and finally admit once and for all, that in this sector of the economy, government really is the best choice for financing everyone’s health care.

Activists Call on Hillary Clinton to support single payer

  • Posted: Jul 22nd, 2016

Activists in San Francisco greeted Hillary Clinton outside her fundraiser asking for her to join 81% of her fellow Democrats and a majority of Americans, and support Universal, Single Payer, Medicare for All!!

The Human Face of Obamacare, a video summary of John Geyman’s new book

  • Posted: Mar 9th, 2016

John Geyman, M.D. has just released an excellent new book that analyzes the promises and the reality of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.  Here a dedicated group of seven professional women present a chapter-by-chapter video summary of the book.

Chaps. 1–3 Ann Chen YouTube Preview Image
Chaps. 4–6 Tara Keir YouTube Preview Image
Chaps. 7–12 Makulla Godwin YouTube Preview Image
Chaps. 13–15 Mona Cereghino YouTube Preview Image
Chaps. 16–17 Eileen Wampole YouTube Preview Image
Chaps. 18–19 Susan Cieutat YouTube Preview Image
Chap. 20 Carolyn Long YouTube Preview Image