As a mental health provider in this community for 30 years, I have heard many stories about the impact of our problematic insurance-based health care system (Mailbox, Dec. 14). Getting adequate care has been difficult or impossible for many families. The Affordable Care Act, although imperfect, solved some of those problems. Now, it is being threatened with no other national solution in sight. Some members of Congress are openly saying they intend to greatly scale back Medicare and MediCal next. We urgently need an alternative to this complex issue that affects us all.
In my opinion, proposed California Senate Bill 562 is a very good alternative. It is a single-payer health plan, like Medicare, for California. Under 562, all Californians would be covered equally as citizens, not tied to specific employment or health status. All providers would be included, not splintered into networks. Insurance companies would no longer be the very expensive gatekeepers to healthcare (20 to 30 percent administrative costs compared to 3 percent for Medicare).
Single-payer is a humane solution that makes economic sense. Our current system is inefficient and wasteful. We overburden our businesses by requiring them to provide health care. If every Californian were covered by single-payer as a citizen, it would reduce the risks of starting/running a business, the risk of changing jobs, the risk of going bankrupt to pay for medical care.
S.B. 562 is currently stuck in committee in the California Assembly, while many are facing unaffordable health costs next year. I encourage readers to learn more about S.B. 562 (including how it would be financed) at www.Healthycaact.org. If 562 makes sense to you, please let our state representatives know you want them to work on S.B. 562 and move it forward now.
Cathy Chandler-Klein, Eureka