Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

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By Jon Abad

Calcare or AB 1400 is about to clear the California assembly on its way to becoming a law. It provides universal healthcare for all in California. It was introduced last year and it cleared health committee and it cleared appropriations committee last week, but must be approved by the full assembly before the end of January to stay alive. It will expand Medicare-like universal healthcare for all in California. It will cover 100% of medical expenses including dental, vision, prescription and long-term care just like in much of the rest of the world provides for all it's citizens now.

Let's face it.... The only reason anyone would be against this bill is if they worked for or paid by insurance or pharmaceuticals industry that will undoubtedly suffer the worst.....Clearly under this plan, over 90% of all California will end up spending less on healthcare than any added taxes to fund it. 

Universal care isn't perfect, people in other countries may complain about waiting a long time for non-life-threatening procedures or treatments.  But way too many Americans only wished they had this option for waiting to afford life-saving treatments as half a million Americans go bankrupt from hospital bills every year….and countless more reluctantly have to choose to forgo life-saving treatment just so they can leave their life savings to loved ones....... It's no wonder our life expectancy rate in the US are near the bottom in the list among industrialized nations with all of them having universal healthcare for all.

Over and over other countries have proven that universal care system is the best way to run healthcare. It works for the sickest and oldest here in the US with Medicare, doesn't it? So why not expand it to all? It works in all of Europe and the rest of the world so why not here? 

Medicare is still being funded by the same 1.45% payroll taxes that it was funded with when it started sixty years ago.... Can you point to any health insurers that can survive when two years without a rate increase?  Private insurance spends up to 20% of premiums to administer healthcare while in single payer programs like Medicare, it only costs less than 2% to administer it as there's no cost going to lobbying, marketing, profit and huge executive compensations.  

Between employer and employees portion of healthcare insurance in the US, over $20k annually is spent on typical HMO insurance in this country for each family.   At about $60k in median household income, this means half the US spends about a third of their income just on healthcare premiums!  If you include health insurance cost to taxes we pay, don't we pay more than taxes in any other countries with universal healthcare for all? 

Did you know that the US spends over 18% of our GDP on healthcare while all other developed countries spend less than 13% of their GDP towards healthcare... That's up to a trillion dollars annually we can save if this country adopted single-payer system that the rest of the world have already proven to work over the last past 80 years!  Anyways, hope you would supported it, if not, at least state your concerns publicly so that it be incorporated into the final product.  Here's the proposed funding sources below:

Annual excise tax on businesses with $2 million income of 2.3%

Payroll tax for employers with 50 or more resident employees of 1.25%

For workers earning more than $49,000 a 1% payroll tax

Personal income tax for those earning $149,509 or over


Op-Ed's are written by community members. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat. Do you have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at ed@edhat.com.

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a-1643143842 Jan 25, 2022 12:50 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Doesn’t this proposed law have to be approved by the voters? It will raise taxes substantially on the middle class. I noticed this article did not put the percentage of increase on those making over 149K. Why? What will the increase in personal income tax be for that group? I have an HSA which works well for my family. I don’t want to lose it. I have no problem with the government shifting some of the multitude of taxes I already pay to care for those who need it or paying a little more. Will I revive a tax credit at the end of the year for not using universal health care? Until our government can run existing programs efficiently( like locating the missing 80million in fire fees some property owners paid) I won’t support universal health care.

“It will expand Medicare-like universal healthcare for all in California. It will cover 100% of medical expenses including dental, vision, prescription and long-term care “

Many people with Medicare have to buy supplemental insurance to cover basic needs. As I assume is what will happen here if you want to choose your doctor. And waiting for months for non life saving treatments or procedures isn’t good for anyone. Try being in agonizing pain from a herniated disk or torn rotator cuff. No one should have to wait 9 months to have those things repaired by a doctor they didn’t choose. There are too many unanswered questions to be pushing this through so quickly.

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:05 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

A-1643143842

Think about it though.... the vast majority, if not all, actually look forward to ditching their private insurance to get on Medicare now.... Why do you think anyone would be reluctant to going on Calcare that covers 100% instead of just 80% in Medicare and covers dental, vision, prescription, and long term care that Medicare doesn't?

a-1643173693 Jan 25, 2022 09:08 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

People who currently get health insurance as part of their pay will want to know that they’ll get as good or better coverage with CalCare. Generalized happy talk won’t be enough. Yes, most decent people agree that no one should go without needed care, but how many of us would take a big pay cut to offer that care to strangers? We need precise numbers, lots of specifics. This proposal has a lot of great ideas. Free care for everybody! The implementation and funding needs some clarification.

a-1643215565 Jan 26, 2022 08:46 AM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

UCSB98 you keep saying that people want to ditch their private insurance, but based on the comments here it appears that some people are actually content with theirs. These people will need to have more concrete information than we’ve seen so far.

UCSB98 Jan 26, 2022 07:04 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

A-1643215565

Think about it though... When people transition to Medicare when they turn 65, do you really think any of them complain about giving up their expensive health insurance for Medicare that covers more and cost much less? Now Calcare covers even more than Medicare... Think about it...

CoastWatch Jan 25, 2022 12:51 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

...so basically, all Californians, even those here legally, will get the full health care benefits that have always been provided to non-citizens... Wow, that's great and it's FREE!!!!

a-1643148123 Jan 25, 2022 02:02 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Will there be any residence requirement, or will people from other states be able to come here to get care they can’t afford in their own state, without having ever paid into the system?

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:06 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

A-1643148123

It doesn't sound like there's residency requirement which will attract businesses to come to this state....

ConservativeSB Jan 25, 2022 02:31 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Go for it! Triple taxes to fund it! Why stop at free? Why don’t we pay people to get medical care since they cannot earn a living while in the doctors office? Doesn’t bother me one bit! I’ll be “ConservativeTexan” by the time this becomes law. Good luck suckers!

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:11 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

CONSERVATIVESB

Between employer and employees portion of healthcare insurance in the US, over $20k annually is spent on typical HMO insurance in this country for each family. At about $60k in median household income, this means half the nation spends a third of their income just on healthcare premiums!

If you include health insurance cost to taxes we pay, don't we pay more than taxes any other countries with universal healthcare pay?

SBTownie Jan 25, 2022 02:47 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Can someone provide some actual numbers on how much taxation would go up and on what brackets to fund this? Has that been calculated?

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:13 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

SBTOWNIE

Actual numbers like in Medicare compared to private insurance? Private insurance spends up to 20% of premiums to administer healthcare while in single payer programs like Medicare, it only costs less than 2% to administer it as there's no cost going to lobbying, marketing, profit and huge executive compensations....

That's why the US spends over 18% of our GDP on healthcare while all other developed countries spend less than 13% of their GDP towards healthcare..

Between employer and employees portion of healthcare insurance in the US, over $20k annually is spent on typical HMO insurance in this country for each family. At about $60k in median household income, this means half the nation spends a third of their income just on healthcare premiums!

If you include health insurance cost to taxes we pay, don't we pay more than taxes any other countries with universal healthcare pay?

sacjon Jan 25, 2022 03:02 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

KOHN1 - no, every other civilized country in "the world" helps its citizens. Is that so nuts?

a-1643157181 Jan 25, 2022 04:33 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

But doesn’t it have to be done country-wide, not state by state? What’s to prevent people living in Texas for coming to California for a free hernia repair, or whatever? I know that other countries have figured this out—they give tourists emergency care, but don’t just welcome foreigners for general health care needs. How does the proposed California law manage that? What about undocumented persons? Oh wait, looks like Transparent mentioned this already.

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:15 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Why not start in each state? Point is, it will attract people and businesses and grow the economy then other states will adopt it to gain back population.... Right?

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:15 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Why not start in each state? Point is, it will attract people and businesses and grow the economy then other states will adopt it to gain back population.... Right?

Transparent Jan 25, 2022 02:51 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Health care reform is needed (badly) and a minimal level of government provided universal coverage is the way to go. Coverage, not insurance or co-insurance or insurance subsidies.

That said, it NEEDS to be at the federal level. Otherwise, live in Ohio and need an expensive surgery? Move to California long enough for one state income tax cycle and off you go. (The courts will say if you pay state taxes you're a resident and get resident services, duh.) Otherwise it will be some combination of bankrupt or majorly dysfunctional in a heartbeat.

This is similar to the broader skeleton in the closet that you can't have robust, free, social services and fully open borders (in this case, state to state movement). Who wants free things? ... everyone! Ask our European friends. It's tearing them apart. It isn't a dems vs. repubs kind of question... no one wants to talk about it because there's no easy partisan upside to the conversation either way.

RHS Jan 25, 2022 04:33 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

The increase in taxes needed to fund this will be substantially less costly for almost all than the present cost of insurance. And anyone who wants to hire private care or buy other coverage will still be able to do so. (Don't think that the rich will forego their concierge services.)

Ahchooo Jan 25, 2022 04:40 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

I haven’t found a good rundown on the pros and cons of this bill. Does anyone have a link? The Q &A sites I’ve found are vague.

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:18 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

AHCHOOO

When you turn 65, is it a difficult choice to take Medicare or not? Well this program covers 100% instead of just 80% in Medicare and covers dental, vision, prescription and long term care that Medicare doesn't currently cover so it will even be better...

Ahchooo Jan 25, 2022 08:18 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

This isn’t an expansion of the federally run Medicare; this is a separate program with different rules and policies. I’m not arguing against it, I just want more info. Obviously our current health care system needs changing. I need details on why *this* proposal is the best way to change it. Voters will have to approve tax increases to fund this, so the proponents better get some real info out to convince us.

UCSB98 Jan 26, 2022 07:08 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

AHCHOOO

Difference is that calcare pays for 100% instead of just 80% that Medicare covers and it includes dental, vision, prescription, and long term care.... Much like what so many other industrialized countries currently cover in their universal healthcare for all ...

bosco Jan 25, 2022 04:42 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

While I support universal health care in theory. Many of us actually have employer funded health plans we like. It's a tough sell for many of us that aren't necessarily looking for a change. Not everyone hates their insurance plan. What we do need is for more transparency in billing. Someone needs to seriously streamline the billing process.

a-1643158416 Jan 25, 2022 04:53 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

I wonder how many Californians would be out of jobs if we actually got rid of the middlemen—insurance companies, billing services, bill collectors.

a-1643163527 Jan 25, 2022 06:18 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

4:53 p.m. Do you wonder how many would be out of jobs if we got rid of the telephone solicitors or the stock fund hypers or the spam telephone callers or the phony on line advertisers, etc.? Some things we are better off without.

a-1643163542 Jan 25, 2022 06:19 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

4:53 p.m. Do you wonder how many would be out of jobs if we got rid of the telephone solicitors or the stock fund hypers or the spam telephone callers or the phony on line advertisers, etc.? Some things we are better off without.

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:19 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

A-1643158416

It's true that it would hurt people in the insurance industry but help the rest....The only reason anyone would be against this bill is if they worked for or paid by insurance or pharmaceuticals industry that will undoubtedly suffer the worst.....Clearly under this plan, over 90% of all California will end up spending less on healthcare than any added taxes to fund it...

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:22 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

BOSCO

Think about it though, when people turn 65, is it a difficult choice to give up their employer insurance to take Medicare or not? Well this program covers 100% instead of just 80% in Medicare and covers dental, vision, prescription and long term care that Medicare doesn't currently cover so it will even be better..... Point is, no one misses their insurance by going to Medicare they certainly won't miss it going to Calcare

a-1643169432 Jan 25, 2022 07:57 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

4:42 - This would streamline it to "no bill", so you get your wish.

CoastWatch Jan 25, 2022 05:14 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

So Edhat Adminstrators... I guess you refuse to post my viewpoint on this subject as it doesn't meet your narrative... I HAVE stayed in Goleta Valley Hospital. My "roommate was a "non-citizen". The hospital billing clerk visited my room and asked for all my billing and insurance info... When she was done with me, she asked my "roommate", who spoke English, and he said he was not a legal resident. She asked if he had a job or bank account.... His answer was no on both accounts. He gets FREE medical care. I paid my $8,000 deductible and continue to pay my $980 dollar monthly medical premium... Welcome to California. I guess we Norte Americanos will now be able to get the same care for FREE too!

Andrea Smith Jan 25, 2022 05:17 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

I'm sorry but why does this fall on the middle class to fund this via taxes? Do they get to enroll? I notice that the employers don't really have to pay for this if they have less than 50 Employees or make under a certain amount. That leaves out many of the employers here in SB but will tax a good majority of the "middle class" here in SB who can barely afford their rents, gas and groceries as it is. I cannot afford another payroll tax when my employer will not have to pay anything due to our size when my employer can afford a tax more than I can. NO THANK YOU! Next plan please or make this one better by taxing less on the middle [soon to be lower] class and more on the employers who make less than 2 million, they can afford it, I cannot! And Medicare isn't all that great, you have to purchase supplemental insurance out of pocket to get any decent care.

UCSB98 Jan 25, 2022 07:23 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Your first $49k will not get taxed... Plus it encourages small businesses to come to California

a-1643171124 Jan 25, 2022 08:25 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

7:23, not everyone thinks we ought to attract people to California. Maybe a slower economy would be a nice respite for our overpopulated state.

a-1643171779 Jan 25, 2022 08:36 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

8:25 - Keep it a worse place to live to make it a worse place to live? That makes sense.

Andrea Smith Jan 25, 2022 05:25 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

If they are going to do this then it needs to be funded by EVERYONE, no exceptions based on income, size of company, etc.

Andrea Smith Jan 25, 2022 05:26 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Otherwise, it's not "universal" because some people will pay for it and others will not and get it for absolutely no cost to them which is inherently unfair. Take this to court if it passes!

JB86 Jan 25, 2022 05:43 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

The writer didn't mention the free coverage for illegal immigrants. Do we really need another magnet to draw people from the entire third world? This needs to be thought through carefully and looked at in detail.

sacjon Jan 25, 2022 06:05 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

JB86 - The writer probably didn't mention it because that has nothing to do with this legislation. Undocumented immigrants already have free coverage available under Medi-Cal. This is something else. Try to set aside the hate for a minute and do a little research.

JB86 Jan 25, 2022 08:15 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

I don't think that is correct; not ALL illegals are currently eligible for Medical, just a subset of minors and seniors. There are millions of others who are not presently covered. Hate has nothing to do with it; it is an issue of equity and fairness for taxpayers, which you may not be it seems.

JB86 Jan 25, 2022 08:17 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

I don't think that is correct; not ALL illegals are currently eligible for Medical, just a subset of minors and seniors. There are millions of others who are not presently covered. Hate has nothing to do with it; it is an issue of equity and fairness for taxpayers, which you may not be it seems.

JB86 Jan 25, 2022 08:17 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

I don't think that is correct; not ALL illegals are currently eligible for Medical, just a subset of minors and seniors. There are millions of others who are not presently covered. Hate has nothing to do with it; it is an issue of equity and fairness for taxpayers, which you may not be it seems.

JB86 Jan 25, 2022 08:25 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

Perhaps, depending on a lot of details we don't know yet. It is complex, touching so many issues, from selection of providers to things like 'who decides' when a procedure is necessary or not? Remember the issue about 'if you like your plan....' The devil is in the details.

sacjon Jan 26, 2022 08:51 AM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

JB86 - I didn't say "ALL" where eligible. The point, that you CLEARLY missed, is that this is not about Medi-Cal, this is something different. Therefore, the writer didn't mention it. Your hate has blinded you to the actual facts of this situation and you spiral off screaming about "illegal immigrants." THAT was my point.

And yes, I'm a property owner (commercial and residential) and pay plenty of taxes. Just because I don't like it when people rant off topic out of anger towards hard working undocumented immigrants and then say things like "it is an issue of equity and fairness" doesn't mean I'm not a taxpayer. It just means I have the capacity for logic and empathy.

sacjon Jan 25, 2022 06:01 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

I bet most "illegal immigrants" work harder than most of those complaining about them getting healthcare.

JB86 Jan 25, 2022 09:20 PM
Op-Ed: Why We Need CalCare

sacjon; I don't doubt that illegals work hard, but that is not at issue. The issue here is who exactly pays for this universal health coverage? Ultimately, economics is a zero-sum game; in this scheme, those who 'have' will pay for themselves plus for those who cannot pay. Ergo, net costs go up for the more financially-able. Then, it is just a matter of what you want based on social philosophy. And that is how this will be decided.

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