Guaranteed Health Care for All
California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act, would create the California Guaranteed Health Care for All program, or CalCare, to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state. The bill, among other things, would provide that CalCare cover a wide range of medical benefits and other services and would incorporate the health care benefits and standards of other existing federal and state provisions, including the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medi-Cal, ancillary health care or social services covered by regional centers for persons with developmental disabilities, Knox-Keene, and the federal Medicare program. The bill would require the board to seek all necessary waivers, approvals, and agreements to allow various existing federal health care payments to be paid to CalCare, which would then assume responsibility for all benefits and services previously paid for with those funds.
SECTION 1. (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Although the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) brought many improvements in health care and health care coverage, PPACA still leaves many Californians without coverage or with inadequate coverage.
(2) Californians, as individuals, employers, and taxpayers, have experienced a rise in the cost of health care and health care coverage in recent years, including rising premiums, deductibles, and copayments, as well as restricted provider networks and high out-of-network charges.
(3) Businesses have also experienced increases in the costs of health care benefits for their employees, and many employers are shifting a larger share of the cost of coverage to their employees or dropping coverage entirely.
(4) Individuals often find that they are deprived of affordable care and choice because of decisions by health benefit plans guided by the plan’s economic needs rather than patients’ health care needs.
(5) To address the fiscal crisis facing the health care system and the state, and to ensure Californians get the health care they need, comprehensive health care coverage needs to be provided.
(6) Billions of dollars that could be spent on providing equal access to health care are wasted on administrative costs necessary in a multipayer health care system. Resources and costs spent on administration would be dramatically reduced in a single-payer system, allowing health care professionals and hospitals to focus on patient care instead.
(7) It is the intent of the Legislature to establish a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state.
(1) It is further the intent of the Legislature to establish the California Guaranteed Health Care for All program to provide universal health coverage for every Californian, funded by broad-based revenue.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to work to obtain waivers and other approvals relating to Medi-Cal, the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare, PPACA, and any other federal programs pertaining to the provision of health care so that any federal funds and other subsidies that would otherwise be paid to the State of California, Californians, and health care providers would be paid by the federal government to the State of California and deposited in the CalCare Trust Fund.
(3) Under those waivers and approvals, those funds would be used for health care coverage that provides health care benefits equal to or exceeded by those programs as well as other program modifications, including elimination of cost sharing and insurance premiums.
(4) Those programs would be replaced and merged into CalCare, which will operate as a true single-payer program.
(5) If any necessary waivers or approvals are not obtained, it is the intent of the Legislature that the state use state plan amendments and seek waivers and approvals to maximize, and make as seamless as possible, the use of funding from federally matched public health programs and other federal health programs in CalCare.
(6) Even if other programs, including Medi-Cal or Medicare, may contribute to paying for care, it is the goal of this act that the coverage be delivered by CalCare, and, as much as possible, that the multiple sources of funding be pooled with other CalCare program funds.
(c) This act does not create an employment benefit, nor does the act require, prohibit, or limit providing a health care employment benefit.
(1) It is not the intent of the Legislature to change or impact in any way the role or authority of a licensing board or state agency that regulates the standards for or provision of health care and the standards for health care providers as established under current law, including the Business and Professions Code, the Health and Safety Code, the Insurance Code, and the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(2) This act would in no way authorize the CalCare Board, the California Guaranteed Health Care for All program, or the Secretary of California Health and Human Services to establish or revise licensure standards for health care professionals or providers.
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that neither health information technology nor clinical practice guidelines limit the effective exercise of the professional judgment of physicians, registered nurses, and other licensed health care professionals. Physicians, registered nurses, and other licensed health care professionals shall be free to override health information technology and clinical practice guidelines if, in their professional judgment and in accordance with their scope of practice and licensure, it is in the best interest of the patient and consistent with the patient’s wishes.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature to prohibit CalCare, a state agency, a local agency, or a public employee acting under color of law from providing or disclosing to anyone, including the federal government, any personally identifiable information obtained, including a person’s religious beliefs, practices, or affiliation, national origin, ethnicity, or immigration status, for law enforcement or immigration purposes.
(2) This act would also prohibit law enforcement agencies from using CalCare’s funds, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to investigate, enforce, or assist in the investigation or enforcement of a criminal, civil, or administrative violation or warrant for a violation of any requirement that individuals register with the federal government or any federal agency based on religion, national origin, ethnicity, immigration status, or other protected category as recognized in the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Part 2 (commencing with Section 51) of Division 1 of the Civil Code).
(g) It is the further intent of the Legislature to address the high cost of prescription drugs and ensure they are affordable for patients.
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