Santa Monica City Council, acting on motions introduced by Council Member Kevin McKeown, voted this year, as they have since 2003, for their unanimous support for single payer health insurance. They voted for all Californians to have health insurance and learned that if we had single payer in California now, and all else being equal, the City would realize a savings of $6.0 million.
So, if offered the choice, would you prefer to give your doctor a State of California Health Insurance Card and have your health care costs be covered with no copayments and no surprises as to what might or might not be included, or would you prefer to keep your current insurance? That choice, according to the organization Health Care For All, is the reason to join with the over 700 professional groups, unions, civic groups, and organizations working diligently and enthusiastically for Senate Bill 810, the “California Universal Health Care Act.”
Originally proposed by former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, twice passed by both Houses of the California legislature and twice vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger, single payer insurance for California has been introduced, in its third iteration, Senate Bill 810 by Senator Leno. Senator, Fran Pavley and Assembly Member Julia Brownley are among the 35 Members of the State Legislature signing on to the Bill.
According to the City Finance Office, Santa Monica could see a potential savings of $6.0 million annually. Here’s what the City Finance Office wrote: “If the City were to pay the entire 16 percent of health care costs under the single payer plan, it would incur $21.8 million in annual expenditures. Projected medical costs for FY 2008-09 for the same salary level were $27.8 million, which indicates an estimated savings of $6.0 million over current medical, dental, and vision costs.”
If that is what the City would save, imagine the potential savings to the State, the Country, and to each individual American. How is it possible we can have better health care and save money? To begin to understand look at SB 810, California Single Payer Health Insurance, “The California Universal Health Care Act.”
SB 810 describes a State in budget crisis with “one-third of California’s State Budget devoted to health care insurance and direct payment costs, an estimated 6.6 million Californians uninsured, 763,000 children uninsured and health plans and insurers competing to construct patient pools consisting of the healthiest segments of the population, leaving higher risk patients to public programs or uninsured.”
“The U.S. spends more than twice as much as other industrial nations on health care, both per person and as a percentage of its gross domestic product. Yet U.S. healthcare outcomes consistently rank at the bottom of all industrial nations. One-half of all bankruptcies in the United States now relate to medical costs, though three-fourths of bankrupted families had health care coverage at the time of sustaining the injury or illness. More than one-half of all Americans report forgoing recommended health care because of the cost.” Doesn’t it seem that if we solve our health costs crisis we will also be solving a large part of our national economic crisis?
Here’s what Kevin McKeown said, “Single-payer is the clear answer to our healthcare crisis, allowing each of us to choose private doctors and facilities, but routing the payments through one government plan. There’s a reason why existing insurance interests oppose even the partial ‘public option’ proposal: they know that the inefficiencies and administrative overhead insurance companies introduce can’t compete with universal single-payer.” What say you?