How a Single-Payer Health Plan Would Look in California

State Sen. Ricardo Lara, author of the single-payer health care bill, presents charts in Sacramento Wednesday outlining some of the impacts his proposal would have on the state. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press)

Imagine if any California resident could walk into a hospital or clinic — penniless — to see a doctor about whatever health condition was bothering them.

That’s the scenario state senators envisioned when they pushed through SB562 this week, a bill that proposes a universal health system in California that would ensure that every resident would have access to health care, regardless of wealth or employment status, age or pre-existing medical condition.

The $400 billion-a-year proposal would mean that familiar institutions in the health care ecosystem — including insurance giants Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross and Anthem — could be virtually eliminated in the nation’s most populous state. Kaiser, the state’s largest private employer, said the plan would ban its model of providing both care and coverage.

Many questions about the proposal, including the most pressing — how it would be paid for — remain unanswered. But the measure would upend the health care network in the state, drastically reducing the role of private insurance companies and scrapping the need for consumers to pay premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

Under the proposal, the state would pay for health care services for most of the 39 million residents of California, including preventive care, prenatal services, immunizations, emergency services, surgeries, dental care and prescription drugs. Military veterans who receive care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would continue receiving their care that way. Full Article here.