If approved, a proposal will provide health insurance to all California residents has a decisive vote this week in the Appropriations Committee before going to the full Assembly or lower house and then to Governor Gavin Newsom, who supports that plan.

The Guaranteed Health Care for All Act initiative, or CalCare, could be passed this month and go into effect in June.

The proposal has been approved in the Health Committee, and it is expected to be endorsed without problems in the Appropriations committee with 9 Democrats and 4 Republicans and go to the plenary session of the Assembly that also has a Democratic majority that supports the initiative.

California would become the first state in the country with universal health insurance – similar to covering all Canadians. This is the mechanism with which, if approved, it will operate, similar to Cover California.

If an individual or a family buys health insurance, they have to pay high premiums. President Barack Obama's Health reform brought together large groups of individuals and families to purchase insurance for all at a wholesale discount. With that, it also gets insurers to accept patients with chronic diseases. 

CalCare goes above and beyond; Instead of bringing together large groups of patients to purchase insurance wholesale, California would present some 40 million Californians as a single patient purchasing health insurance.

No one in California would be left without health insurance, regardless of age, immigration status, or current health status. CalCare would eliminate premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. 

CalCare would be funded with money from federal and state government agencies along with additional revenue sources, such as an estate tax, to be determined by the California State Legislature.

The association of more than 100,000 California nurses supports the CalCare plan. 

That association reported that despite advances from Cover California, "nearly 3 million Californians do not have health insurance, while millions more have insurance they cannot afford because their copays and deductibles are too high." 

He noted that private insurance companies are reporting record profits, even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage California, and medical bankruptcies are at an all-time high.

"Nurses know the need and have fought for decades to ensure that everyone has guaranteed health care through a system like CalCare," said Bonnie Castillo, executive director of the California Nurses Association.

The Republican caucus in the Assembly opposes the initiative because, by reducing profits for insurers, they would lower the salaries of doctors and nurses, which would lead to a shortage of health personnel.

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