By Ryan Skolnick

I’ve heard a lot of confusion about the letter Governor Newsom sent about state single payer and waivers, and I wanted to clarify what exactly he said in that letter.

In the letter, Governor Newsom was, in essence, telling Democrats in DC that they should pass new legislation making it easier for states to do health care reform, and that our hands are tied until that happens. It’s very similar, almost identical in fact, to the letter he sent when he first assumed office during the Trump administration.

That letter was not an application for federal waivers or anything of the sort. If it were, it would have to be rejected, since we don’t have legislation authorizing him to apply for them yet or that would implement the program waivers would be used for.

It’s great that the Governor decided to reiterate support for single payer health care, and hopefully he decides to use that position to call for AB 1400 to go forward in January. But the reality is that we do not need federal legislation to do single payer in California. All waiver authority necessary to implement CalCare already exists in current law.
CalCare would integrate all necessary federal programs and funding through a consolidated waiver process, and we need to demand that it move forward.