Assembly Member Anthony Rendon,

Please stop blocking SB 562 – the bill that could enable Californians to have access to single payer health care.  It is extremely important, now more than ever, that the State of California take steps to protect people’s access to health care.

I’m sure you are aware of how detrimental the health care bills being passed in the United States House of Representatives, and going through the United State Senate, will be to people who are poor, who are disabled, who are elderly, who have chronic incurable illnesses, who need (or will need) nursing home care, who have preexisting conditions, who have cancer, or who will someday potentially be faced with a serious illness.  If California enacted single payer health care – it would prevent the federal government from taking away the access to health care from the neediest Californians.

If I understand what I read in the news correctly, your position is that you believe that SB 562 is too expensive. Please allow me to refer you to an article posted in the Los Angeles Times on June 21, 2017, titled: “Single-payer healthcare is, in fact, very doable”.  It was written by Robert Pollin, who cites research he and colleagues conducted regarding single payer health care in California.

Here is a link to the article.

Here are a few key paragraphs from the article:

“Enacting Healthy California would entail an overhaul of the state’s existing healthcare system, which now constitutes about 14% of California’s GDP. In particular, it would mean replacing the state’s private health insurance industry with government-managed insurance. Our study – which was also commissioned by the California Nurses Assn. – concludes not only that the proposal is financially sound, but that it will produce greater equity in the healthcare sector for families and businesses of all sizes.

“California will spend about $370 billion on healthcare in 2017. Assuming the state’s existing system stayed intact, the cost of extending coverage to all California residents, including the nearly 15 million people who are currently uninsured or underinsured, would increase healthcare spending by about 10%, to roughly $400 billion.

“That’s not the full story, though. Enacting a single-payer system would yield considerable savings overall by lowering administrative costs, controlling the prices of pharmaceuticals and fees for physicians and hospitals, reducing unnecessary treatments and expanding preventative care. We found that Healthy California could ultimately result in savings of about 18% bringing healthcare spending to about $331 billion, or 8% less than the current $370 billion.

How would California cover this $331-billion bill? For the most part, much the same way it covers healthcare spending right now. Roughly 70% of the state’s current spending is paid for through public programs, including Medicare and MediCal. This funding – totaling about $225 billion – would continue, as is required by law.  It would simply flow through Healthy California rather than existing programs.”

Robert Pollin, the writer of the article, then goes on to give details about how California can raise the remaining $106 billion a year to cover the cost of replacing private insurance.

Assembly Member Rendon, I have friends who live in countries that have single payer health care. They are absolutely astounded by the ruthlessness of the American health insurance industry.

One person I know had a major surgery – which was covered for free in the UK – because they have single payer health care. If she lived in the United States she would be setting up a GoFundMe to cover the costs that health insurance refused to cover.

Another person I know recently had an elderly family member have need to be in the hospital due to a series of medical issues. The elderly family member was in the hospital for weeks. This family is in Australia – and the hospitalization, and all that went with it – was entirely covered because Australia has single payer health care. If my friend and his relative lived in the United States – they would be in debt from the medical bills, and unable to afford the next time the elderly relative needed to go to the hospital.

A friend who lives in Canada has had severe health issues taken care off for free – thanks to Canada’s single payer health care system. If this person was an American, he would likely not be able to see a doctor and get the care he needed for those health issues.

My friends outside of the United States are honestly saddened to the point of tears when they hear about what Americans are struggling with because of our current health care system. Please, Assembly Member Rendon, stop blocking single payer. Give Californians a chance to have the type of excellent care, and incredibly affordable care, that my friends in other countries are given. It’s the right thing to do.

As for me, to be honest, I’m terrified about what the federal government is trying to do in regards to repealing the Affordable Care Act. I have four chronic illnesses – none of which can be cured – and one of which WILL get worse as I age.

I’m in my 40’s now, and my rheumatoid arthritis is already painful enough to prevent me from being able to work as much as I did when I was younger. I applied for disability assistance, but was turned down, because I am able to occasionally write online articles for pay. If the federal government makes access to health care unaffordable for me, I honestly don’t know what I will to to prevent my rheumatoid arthritis from getting worse. I cannot imagine the amount of pain I will be in, or how I will cope with it.

My story is unique to me, but is similar to other Californians’.  We need your help, Assembly Member Rendon. Please stop blocking single payer health care. This issue is so vitally important to me that I’m typing this email to you despite having stiff, aching, joints in my hands and wrists.

Please take the time to consider what I have written,
Thank you

An Open Letter to Assembly Member Anthony Rendon Regarding Single Payer Health Care is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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