Oppose California single-payer health care

Health Care Conference

David Fear Jr. will be debating California single-payer health care at North Bay Business Journal’s Health Care Conference.

Friday, July 28, 8–11:30 a.m.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa, 170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa

$70 per person or $715 for a table of 10

Registration: nbbj.news/health17

The California Association of Health Underwriters (CAHU) and our members remain strongly opposed to Senate Bill 562 (Lara/Atkins), which mandates a government run single payer health care program and abolishes private health insurance, Medi-Cal, Medicare, Covered California, and the valuable advocacy services of insurance professionals and advisors.

We believe SB 562 will harm California residents with a $400 billion dollar price tag per year and no guarantee of better health care.

CAHU is one of the largest associations of professional licensed health insurance agents and other health insurance industry professionals. Our members help millions of individual Californians and businesses evaluate, select, purchase and use their health care coverage plans, resulting in greater health and financial security — all at no additional cost to the consumer. Our agents and brokers also serve as consumer advocates for policyholders and their families when coverage disputes arise.

As an association representing health insurance agents in California, we understand the importance of health care coverage and affordability of that coverage. However, we believe the negative impacts that SB 562 would have on the health insurance marketplace and the overall economy in California significantly outweigh the benefits of creating a universal single-payer government-run program.

Agents are also concerned that SB 562 would cause those currently insured to lose their health care coverage and have it replaced with a new benefit structure determined by what government feels it can afford, not on what the consumer may want or need. While SB 562 provides all citizens some kind of health care coverage, it does not guarantee access to medical care.

The Senate Appropriations Committee set a conservative cost estimate for SB 562 as approximately $400 billion per year. This is more than twice the amount of California’s entire proposed state budget of $180 billion.

Additionally, all proposed funding offsets would require enormous resources and are unlikely to be feasible. Even with absorption of all existing government health care funding and all current employer health care spending, there would still be a minimum funding shortfall of $50 billion to $100 billion per year.

The committee speculated that this shortfall is likely to result in a new payroll tax of about 15 percent with no cap on wages subject to the tax. That fiscal impact would be unsustainable for employees and employers in California and would result in the highest tax burden in the country — a strong disincentive to remain in business in California.

CAHU has been an active stakeholder, supporter and participant with Covered California. We believe SB 562 unnecessarily complicates the Covered California program by forcing the entire state health care system to move in an entirely different, prohibitively expensive direction.

California has just completed another successful open-enrollment season and the percentages of those who are uninsured have dropped to 7.1 percent, a record low in our state. It is important to note that licensed, certified health insurance agents contributed in large part to this success story, having helped millions of Californians find and keep affordable health care coverage, and standing ready, willing and able to continue doing so.

Despite the current growing call for a single-payer system, the recent survey commissioned by CAHU showed 81 percent of Californians are currently satisfied with their health coverage. The survey also demonstrated a super majority of California voters opposed the creation of government run health care when they learn of the associated cost burden to families. When learning about the facts about universal single payer health care, different age groups, demographics and ethnic backgrounds all share opposition to a government run system.

Health Care Conference

David Fear Jr. will be debating California single-payer health care at North Bay Business Journal’s Health Care Conference.

Friday, July 28, 8–11:30 a.m.

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa, 170 Railroad St., Santa Rosa

$70 per person or $715 for a table of 10

Registration: nbbj.news/health17

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