Nurses Engage On Next Health Care Revolution

The California Nurses Association has been at the forefront of every major change in health care in California over the last three decades – – be it HMO patients' rights or safe staffing levels for patients in California hospitals. 
 
Now they've engaged the next level of revolution in healthcare as Trump's Administration threatens to pull the rug out from under funding of health insurance subsidies for low-income Americans and throw out strong, insurance consumer protections put in place under Obamacare.
 
The nurses went to Sacramento this week to introduce the same cost-effective, generous, and no-gimicks healthcare benefits for Californians that are available to citizens of every other country in the world with similar socioeconomic status. Call it Medicare for all or California Medicare or single-payer.
 
The idea is this: the state pays bills for all doctors, hospitals and drugs, thus getting the best deal through bulk purchasing. The bigger the buyer, the better the price, and California has 36 million people. The insurance companies are out and drug companies have to charge 2/3s less, like they do in every other nation.
 
The key to such a plan was always finding a financing mechanism because it's going to rely in its early phases on some type of tax. If Trump and the Republicans decide, as they've said, to give states block grants to spend on healthcare as we see fit, then single-payer is the only way to go, because it is the most cost effective way to use block grants. Supplemented by a payroll tax equal to less than what employers now pay for healthcare benefits, Californians can enjoy comprehensive benefits without having to deal with insurance companies' greed and incentives to deny claims.
 
The devil is always in the details. Thanks to the California Nurses Association, we will now be discussing those details. It's exactly the type of progressive populism that Americans angry about insurance companies and drug companies need rather than the false prophets of the Trump revolution.  
 
Let's hope California's Democratic leadership seriously engages in this debate rather than answering to their paymasters in the health insurance and drug company complexes. Having fought side-by-side with the California nurses over decades for the right causes, I know they will demand nothing less. Game on.

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