Letters to the Editor – Budget deficits are a bad excuse for California to kill single-payer healthcare

May 24, 2024
To the editor: Assembly Bill 2200, the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act, or CalCare, was buried without a public vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week. Politicians who claim to support single-payer healthcare now say it must be delayed because the state has a massive budget deficit.
In a piece last year in Forbes, emergency room physician Arthur L. Kellerman noted that the U.S. spends more on healthcare than other wealthy nations but ranks last in health outcomes.
Each time research confirms this bad news, two objections are made: that this country has world-class medical hospitals and research, and any medical system other than our own would cost too much.
Stark class divisions in this country prevent millions of people from getting timely checkups and comprehensive care. Our healthcare system is fragmented by competing insurance companies. Small businesses are burdened by job-based health plans.
Bureaucrats and perverse incentives come between providers and patients. Doctors burn out, because while they are trained to heal and save lives, they spend too much time arguing with insurance companies.
This broken system is already staggeringly expensive. A single-payer system would cost less and cover more. The administrative costs created by insurance companies would be drastically reduced.
If there is no democracy in healthcare, the foundation of the social contract is undermined. Healthcare delayed is healthcare denied.
From Scott Tucker, Los Angeles

To the editor: Did Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), chair of the Appropriations Committee, bother to read the analysis of AB 2200 written by a principal consultant of her own committee?
That analysis clearly delineates AB 2200 as a policy bill, not a spending bill. It also quotes the 2022 finding by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Healthy California for All Commission that, if single-payer were enacted, changes to the current system would reduce overall healthcare spending, saving California billions.
As Appropriations chair, Wicks has power over the fate of many bills. By denying Californians improved, comprehensive, universal healthcare and freedom from medical debt, Wicks is also denying California a long-term investment to protect us from future deficits.
From Carol Fodera, La Crescenta