Together, AB 1400 and ACA 11 would guarantee comprehensive, high-quality health care for all Californians as a human right, leading the nation in the larger fight for health care justice
SACRAMENTO – Thursday, California Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 11, which offers a progressive taxation plan to fund comprehensive, universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system as outlined in AB 1400, the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (Cal-Care). AB 1400, which offers the policy framework, can proceed separately during the 2022 Legislative Calendar and was referred to the Assembly Health Committee today.
“AB 1400’s first policy committee hearing will be a significant and historic step for the Single-Payer Health Care Movement in California. AB 1400 and ACA 11 provides Californians a clear understanding of what they can expect from a truly publicly financed, single-payer health care system and allows them to decide for themselves if they are better off paying for the most expensive healthcare in the world with the worst outcomes of any wealthy nation, or guaranteed healthcare for all with CalCare while reducing overall healthcare costs,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “Those that profit off the immoral status quo may not like it, but I am confident that the vast majority of working and retired Californians will see the benefit of significant cost-savings as we remove debilitating insurance costs, out-of-reach prescription drugs and arbitrarily high hospital fees.”
“I thank Speaker Anthony Rendon and his staff for their willingness to positively engage with me and the sponsor in this process over many months. And, thank you to Health Committee Chair Dr. Jim Wood for his openness to dialogue and thoughtful consideration of hearing the bill in his Committee,” added Assemblymember Kalra.
ACA 11 would propose a package of taxes to fund CalCare through a gross receipts tax, payroll tax, and a personal income tax on high earners. Additionally, ACA 11 ensures that the tax revenues raised do not affect the Gann Limit, the Proposition 98 minimum guarantee for schools and community colleges, or reserve calculations under Proposition 2 of 2014.
“In 2022, we already have one guarantee, out-of-pocket healthcare costs for Californians will continue to sharply rise. This time let’s guarantee Californians can get the care they need without going into medical debt, starting a GoFundMe campaign, or going homeless or not paying for food or heating bills instead. For decades we’ve had commissions, studies, and experts explaining single payer would end this crisis of health insecurity. We don’t need more commissions or studies, we need AB 1400,” said Stephanie Roberson, Government Relations Director of California Nurses Association, sponsors of the bill.
“Despite being the richest country in the world, the United States is still the only country in the developed world without a system of universal healthcare,” said AB 1400 and ACA 11 joint-author Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose). “The pandemic has made evident that tying your healthcare to employment isn’t just antiquated, it’s dangerous; now is the time to realize healthcare as a human right — and California will lead the way with CalCare.”
Despite the gains made under the Affordable Care Act, nearly 3 million Californians have no health insurance, while millions more have insurance that they can’t afford to use because their copays and deductibles are too high. Meanwhile, for-profit insurance companies and health care systems are reporting record-breaking profits, even while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage California and medical-related bankruptcies are at an all-time high. In addition to guaranteeing health care to all Californians, it would save families and businesses thousands in annual health care costs by cutting out the bloat, waste, and inefficiencies of our fragmented, for-profit insurance system.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated already existing disparities in our healthcare system,” said AB 1400 joint-author Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “I am hearing from too many families how out of pocket healthcare costs, from co-pays, to premiums and deductibles are crippling them financially. Think of how that affects their ability to afford rent and food. It’s about time we give all Californians healthcare, regardless of income, immigration status or health condition.”
Californians overwhelmingly support the transition to a single-payer health care system: 57 percent of all Californians supported replacing private insurance with guaranteed coverage provided by the government—even before the Covid-19 pandemic caused millions of Californians to lose their jobs and employer-provided health insurance.
The principal coauthors of AB 1400 are Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Isaac Bryan (D-Baldwin Hills), Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), and Senators Lena A. Gonzalez (D- Long Beach), Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The bill is also coauthored by Assemblymembers Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys), Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), Mia Bonta (D-Alameda), and Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), and Senators Josh Becker (D-Peninsula), Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley), John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), and Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont).
ACA 11 is coauthored by Mia Bonta (D-Alameda), Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys), and Senators Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley).
Assemblymember Ash Kalra represents the 27th District, which encompasses approximately half of San Jose and includes all of downtown. He is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment and also serves as a member on the Housing and Community Development, Judiciary, Transportation, and Water, Parks, and Wildlife committees. For more information, visit https://a27.asmdc.org/.
Assemblymember Alex Lee sits on the Budget Committee as well as the Committees on Business and Professions, Education, Rules, and Transportation. He represents the 25th Assembly District which includes the cities of Fremont, Newark, Milpitas, San Jose, and Santa Clara. https://a25.asmdc.org/
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization and the Assembly Select Committee on Los Angeles County Homelessness. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.