SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The effort to eliminate private health insurance and establish a state-run health care program for California residents moved forward at the State Capitol on Thursday.
Expanding access to health care is an issue that has united Democrats, but what is keeping them at odds is how to do it.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has a proposal to expand access to allow all low-income Californians — regardless of immigration status — that is separate from the single-payer health care proposal that moved forward. Some said it will cost too much, but others think it will pay off in the long run.
Assembly Bill 1400 would get rid of private health insurance and create CalCare: a state-run health insurance program for all California residents. The bill passed on a party-line vote, with Republicans rejecting it.
Assemblymember Akilah Weber, a Democrat, did not vote. Though, the approval from the Assembly Appropriations Committee came with conditions: “Contingent on a statute to create revenue mechanisms to fund CalCare, a fiscal report on whether CalCare can be implemented, and further approval by the legislature.”
The latest committee analysis estimates CalCare could cost about $356.5 billion a year. In a statement, Assembly Budget Vice Chairman Vince Fong wrote, in part, “The jaw-dropping price tag of this singular program is more than the entire budget proposal of $286 billion proposed by the Governor.”
The bill, authored by Assembly Member Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, is linked to a proposal that would fund the program with a set of tax increases on businesses and workers call ACA 11.
Those increases would require a two-thirds vote from lawmakers and final approval from voters.
Ahead of Thursday’s approval, more than 120 medical and business groups sent a letter in opposition of CalCare.
AB1400 will likely head to the Assembly floor for a vote next week. If it’s not passed by Jan. 31, it’ll be dead for the year since it was introduced last year.