A commission that would examine the feasibility of providing universal health care in California has been set up by Governor Gavin Newsom.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Newsom announced that his administration is launching the Healthy California for All Commission, which will work toward the goal of setting up a single payer system in the state. The 17-member body will reportedly begin meeting in January to look into ways of expanding health coverage for all residents in the Golden State, which could include a single-payer model.
The commission will examine how other national health insurance programs in other countries work, and how California could apply their model to the state.
“We’ll be exploring in our commission the hybrids in the rest of the world and consider tenets that may work in California,” Newsom said Tuesday. “All in the backdrop of reality.”
If California were to enact some kind of single-payer system, the state would need federal approval on various aspects - which may not be likely with a Republican in the White House.
Some changes to the state's health care have already been accomplished, including new financial assistance for middle-income Californians who pay for health care premiums, as well as an expansion of Medi-Cal coverage for the poor to cover undocumented residents up to age 26.
"The governor was very outspoken in his support for single-payer health care in the campaign and has not moved the debate forward during his time in office yet,” Larry Levitt, a health policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation told the SF Chronicle. "This commission may be a way to buy him some time — the political equivalent of ‘the check’s in the mail.'"
Previously, a single payer proposal that would have cost about $400 billion dollars was shelved in the Assembly in 2017 by Speaker Anthony Rendon, who called the bill "woefully incomplete."
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