SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A proposed bill and state constitutional amendment to create a free universal health care system in the state was officially unveiled in Sacramento on Thursday.
Assembly Bill 1400 would establish universal health care under the name CalCare, providing “comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage.” The amendment goes on to detail how the system would be funded.
According to the proposal, all California residents would be eligible and entitled to enroll as a member of CalCare. There would be no fees, payments, premiums, copayments, deductibles, or other charges.
A member shall not be required to pay a fee, payment, or other charge for enrolling in or being a member of CalCare.Assembly Bill 1400
Covered health care benefits would include:
- Medical and health facilities
- 24-hour emergency services
- Prescription drugs
- Medical devices
- Mental health
- Reproductive, maternity, and newborn care
- Prenatal and postnatal care
- Oral health (dentistry) and vision services
- Emergency services and transportation
- Hospice and skilled nursing facility care
CalCare service providers would be any provider physically present in the State of California and licensed to practice in California.
In support of the proposal, the legislation cites a rise in health care costs for both residents and businesses, services denied due to a health plan’s “economic needs rather than patients,” and billions of dollars spent on administrative care instead of focusing on patient care.
The method to pay for the system is detailed in the constitutional amendment ACA-11. Taxes to pay for the system include:
- Annual excise tax on businesses with $2 million income of 2.3%
- Payroll tax for employers with 50 or more resident employees of 1.25%
- For workers earning more than $49,000 a 1% payroll tax
- Personal income tax for those earning $149,509 or over
The amendment would require voter approval before it goes into force. Assembly Bill 1400 must pass the assembly by the end of January to be able to advance through the legislature this year. A hearing for the bill is scheduled for next week.