Tom Schrette and Alan Cash

Tom Schrette and Alan Cash

J.L. Sousa

Dear Tom and Alan:

I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter because of his stance on tuition-free college and universal healthcare.

I’m pretty sure nothing is going to happen for the whole country under Trump, but what about single-payer healthcare in California?

Weren’t people talking about that?


Tom: Very timely, Nick.

In the April 26 Los Angeles Times, Melanie Mason discusses SB 562, which “…would establish a publicly run healthcare plan that would cover everyone living in California, including those without legal immigration status.”

State Senator Ricardo Lara from Bell Gardens, California, talked about his recent trip to Canada to learn more of their system, and he plans to study Taiwan’s system as well as that of Maryland.

The Senate Health Committee approved the bill, which will now go to the Appropriations Committee.

Supporting the bill: the California Nurses Association, the California Labor Federation and the Bernie Sanders- inspired group, Our Revolution, among others.

Opposing the bill: health insurers, manufacturers and the California Chamber of Commerce.

Al: I went to to find his specific stance on universal healthcare.

Here is the very first thing you see:

“Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America’s health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program.”

Later on in the site, it mentions Medicare for all.

This sort of puzzles me because I don’t see the Medicare I’m on as a single-payer plan.

For example, the way it works for me is: I go to a doctor or some medical provider; the bill (or bills) goes to Medicare and they pay 80 percent; Medicare forwards the bill to my Medicare supplement company and they pay 20 percent; finally, a piece of paper comes to me and says I don’t owe anything.

Tom: It does raise the question about if everyone is covered under single-payer, are you able to buy a supplement and/or buy private insurance to cover what is not covered under the public plan?

So … we looked up “Canadian Health Care” to see how they handle it. Here’s what we found:

“While the health care system in Canada covers basic services, including primary care physicians and hospitals, there are many services that are not covered. These include things like dental services, optometrists, and prescription medications.”

In Canada, then, supplemental insurance is available.

Al: It also raises the question about doctors who now only offer “concierge” service.

In short, if you don’t pay the additional annual fee to the doctor, you don’t have him/her as your regular provider.

And … if the doctor doesn’t accept the payment determined by the government-run universal healthcare system, do they just drop out and only see private-pay patients?

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