This past February, California released a proposal that the state would cover any and all medical expenses for every California resident. Income level, health, immigration status, and other factors would be irrelevant. If a California resident needs health care and this proposal becomes law, the state of California will pay for that care.
Under this “single-payer” model, state funding for health care would come from employer taxes and federal Medicaid and Medicare funding. Lawmakers are still concerned about the tax increase and whether or not it would be worthwhile.
As of this week, New York is already leaps and bounds ahead of California in the same department. A single-payer health care plan passed through the New York State Assembly in response to the passing of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives. However, the New York Senate is Republican-controlled, so the bill may not make it any further.
The bill means no out-of-pocket costs, deductibles, co-pays, or network restrictions – essentially free health care. Taxes would make up for those costs but that means higher taxes. You may have heard this idea of a single-payer system referred to as “Medicare For All,” courtesy of Bernie Sanders, as it would be a Medicare-like system available to all citizens regardless of age.
This could eventually lead to doctors lowering their costs as well because they’ll no longer have different patients giving them different payments (either directly or through their insurance). On the same token, this could increase care quality because there will be no doctor bias based on payment methods. Not to mention, doctors, hospitals, and patients alike will no longer have to waste time on paperwork and billing methods. It will allow for more immediate and unrestricted care.
It didn’t work in Vermont, but Vermont is just one state.
Check back for updates on New York and California’s single-payer proposals and on the American Health Care Act (AHCA).