January 17, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Access to Care Advocacy
Today, the California Medical Association (CMA) launched a new coalition of more than 100,000 California physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, community clinics and pharmacists to protect the gains California has made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and improve California’s health care system.
The Coalition to Protect Access to Care will actively oppose efforts in Washington, D.C., to repeal and replace the ACA, as well as provide a more realistic and responsible solution to California’s SB 562 – flawed legislation that would dismantle the health care marketplace and destabilize the state’s economy. The Coalition also seeks to tie the current federal and state health care debate to practical realities that health care providers experience throughout the state.
The Golden State has made great strides under the ACA, expanding care to more than 5 million Californians who were previously without health coverage. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, nearly 60 percent of Californians view the ACA favorably, and only 18 percent want the law repealed. The Coalition will work with policymakers to protect and expand coverage to the remaining 2-3 million without access to care.
The Coalition also believes that with so much uncertainty in our nation’s politics, now is not the time to walk away from the ACA in favor of establishing a new and undefined health care system.
“We believe that every Californian deserves access to timely, quality health care and affordable coverage,” said CMA President Theodore M. Mazer, M.D. “Unfortunately, SB 562 would wreak havoc on the market, forcing existing successful models aside while destabilizing the state budget – it’s simply unaffordable and fails to recognize real-world access and market dynamics.”
SB 562 would eliminate Medi-Cal, Medicare, all private insurance and the Covered California exchange for a singular health care insurance product provided by the state, without offering any way to pay for it. This measure threatens the health care marketplace for millions of California and is based on erroneous assumptions regarding how California can utilize health care funds provided by the federal government. It also ignores the fact that the state does not have the same powers as the federal government to effectuate a single-payer system.
What’s more, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) found that the proposal could “require new state tax revenues in the low hundreds of billions of dollars” and “could result in a lower minimum funding requirement for schools and community colleges” under Proposition 98. In other words, SB 562 would pit health care groups against public education advocates in an annual battle for state budget dollars, forcing Californians to choose between quality education and quality health care – an unfair, irresponsible and unnecessary request.
The Coalition is committed to the following principles:
- Aggressively protect and expand access to health care by building upon the successes of the Affordable Care Act.
- Work to expand access to care to the remaining 2-3 million Californians who are still without coverage.
- Oppose efforts to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act.
- Oppose Senate Bill 562 and any other health care proposal that destabilizes California’s health care system by calling for unrealistic revenue increases that could destabilize our state budget.
- Commit to improving and expanding care for all Californians through an approach that builds upon California’s existing health care delivery system.
California needs pragmatic and implementable solutions that benefit patients instead of scoring political points.
“A pluralistic health care delivery system can work, and we are committed to real solutions that improve and expand the current system without hurting patients or the economy of California,” said Dr. Mazer.
In addition to CMA, Coalition members include the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (District IX), California Association of Nurse Practitioners, California Dental Association, California Pharmacists Association, the Central California Partnership for Health and Kaiser Permanente.
For more information, please visit ProtectAccessCA.org.