Plan could mean health care for all Californians

Posted at 6:19 AM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 10:57:45-04

As Congress and President Trump debate the future of Obamacare, millions of Californians still don't have health insurance.

However, a new bill making its way through the legislature in Sacramento calls for California to take control from Washington, D.C., and turn the state into the lone health insurance provider for Californians.

Two California lawmakers, including San Diego's Toni Atkins, are now pushing a plan for the state to provide health insurance to its 39 million residents.

A bill called the Healthy California Act would cover all medical care, including dental and vision. It would also eliminate co-payments and deductibles.

Health insurance companies would then only be able to sell supplemental plans.

The bill recently passed the state Senate Health Committee, but many San Diegans appear mixed when it comes to paying the plan's still-unknown price.

"We're going to see a lot of business leave California, we're going to see a lot of [people] living here leave California," said Craig Gussin, spokesman for the San Diego Association of Health Underwriters.

San Diegan Roger Sands, who buys insurance through Covered California, said that's not a concern.

"It's going to balance out. Look at the cost of living in California versus other states, but yet people still come here. You make up for it somewhere along the way," he said.

A spokesman for Atkins said about 3 million Californians still don't have health insurance, which is around 7 percent of the state's population.

One key question is how the state would pay for the insurance program. That answer is expected by the end of this month when the financial report is released.

The bill next goes before the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 26.