Speaker Rendon Announces Fall Hearings on Health Care for All

Yesterday, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced a series of hearings this fall to “develop plans for achieving universal health care in California.  Chaired by Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) and Dr. Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), the new Assembly Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage, will investigate both obstacles and options on health care. Here’s the statement:

“The fight to protect the Affordable Care Act helped galvanize the principle that health care is a basic right,” Rendon said. “There are several different approaches being proposed, including Medicare for all, single payer, hybrid systems and ACA expansion. I have called for these hearings to determine what approach best gets us there – what gets us to ‘yes’ when it comes to health care for all.”

Speaker Rendon stressed that the hearings would not simply go back over information covered in the past, but will provide a new opportunity to determine the best and quickest path forward toward universal health care. Overcoming potential federal and constitutional obstacles, ensuring delivery of care, and examining funding mechanisms will all be part of the committee’s purview.

“It’s not a question of debating whether we move toward health care for all – it’s a matter of choosing how best and how soon,” Rendon said. “The committee’s work will help fill the void of due diligence that should have been done on SB 562 or any universal health care bill that so profoundly affects so many Californians.”

“It is my direction that these hearings be focused and thorough, and produce real results,” Rendon said. “In addition to the oaths they took as legislators, Dr. Wood and Dr. Arambula have also taken oaths to protect and defend patients’ health, so I know they will take a vigorous approach to this challenge, and the committee will begin the heavy lifting needed to advance serious proposals for health care for all.”

Senator Lara, author of SB562, put out this statement:

“I am glad the Assembly is joining the conversation about universal healthcare that started in the Senate this year with the passage of the Healthy California Act, Senate Bill 562. The Select Committee is an important step to a bicameral discussion about healthcare for all and to getting SB 562 on track for debate in the Assembly.

“The conversations I have had with my friend Speaker Anthony Rendon show he is committed to healthcare for all, and the Select Committee is a tangible product of that commitment. Having more legislators involved in hearing the healthcare stories of Californians will move this important debate forward.

“I will be inviting health leaders from Japan, Australia, Canada and Germany so legislators can hear the direct experience of other nations that already have universal healthcare.

“Americans’ healthcare is under continual assault by Congress, and millions of Californians still paying too much for healthcare that doesn’t cover enough. Now is the time for California to lead on healthcare, and I look forward to working with the Speaker and Assembly colleagues to shape the future of universal healthcare.

Health Access California put out the following statement as well:

“Under the Affordable Care Act, California has made huge progress on the path to universal coverage, and we are glad the Assembly is recommitting to that goal. While we must remain vigilant about continued Congressional efforts to repeal the ACA, cut and cap Medicaid, and otherwise decimate our health system, California must also must move forward on the goal of health care for all. Our system is stronger and works best when everyone is included and receives primary and preventative care, rather than more expensive episodic and emergency care.

“Since 2010, California has taken many steps beyond the ACA, including expanding Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible children regardless of immigration status. There is a clear path forward in providing all Californians health coverage, including extending Medi-Cal to all adults regardless of immigration status and taking other steps toward affordability and cost containment. Even before the Legislature adjourns, there is immediate work to do on controlling health care costs by passing legislation such as SB 17 (Hernandez) and other bills on prescription drug prices.

“We look forward to working with the committee to explore the routes we can take as a state to cover all Californians and control health care costs.”