Could a discussion about a single-payer health system be back on the table in California? Depending on what the U.S. Supreme Court decides about the Affordable Care Act (an announcement on the ruling is expected tomorrow), that’s a real possibility. Wonkblog reports today:
The Courage Campaign, a Los Angeles-based alliance of progressive groups, has an advocacy plan ready to roll out should any part of the law fall.
“In the state of California we think we have a unique opportunity,” says Paul Song, a physician who sits on the Courage Campaign’s board. “Being the eighth-largest economy, and a state that has aggressively implemented the law, it could allow us to bring forward a better law.”
If the health reform law falls, Courage Campaign will blast out its single-payer plan to its 750,000 supporters. If it gets upheld, however, no e-mails go out.
Writer Sarah Kliff goes on to describe why Song and others feel this could be the perfect time to move forward on a single-payer system:
Here’s how the thinking goes: If the individual mandate falls, but the rest of the law stands, California still expects to receive a big pile of money to expand insurance coverage. The state has the highest number of uninsured people anywhere, meaning it will get one of the biggest funding boosts. For the Medicaid expansion alone, between 2014 and 2019, the state expects to receive $55 billion.
If California got the necessary waivers from the Obama administration, it could pool those dollars with existing funds to lay a foundation for a single-payer health care system. It’s an approach relatively similar to the one that Vermont is now pursuing.
“In the past, its been hard to approve this with the economic climate,” Song says. “The federal funding could make this work.”