|AAOS in the States: California Will Seriously Consider a Single Payer Model in 2019|
A single payer health care model has effectively become a front-and-center issue in California’s 2018 elections. It has been discussed in virtually every democratic forum with the candidates running for governor, emerged as a point of contention in some legislative races, and will be a rallying cry at the upcoming California Democratic Party convention.
A single-payer proposal in California came close to passing the state legislature in 2017. The legislation, which had a $400 billion-dollar price tag, had enough votes to pass the legislature but Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) ended the effort. Rendon “shelved” the measure, calling it “woefully incomplete.”
Another bill at the California state legislature, an “all-payer” rate setting law, AB 3087, would direct a panel of nine experts to set prices for every medical service in the state. The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the California Orthopaedic Association (COA) strongly objected to the proposal.
Proponents of these price controls schemes say they’ll save billions of dollars. However, a similar model in Maryland has shown to deplete Medicare funds quicker than otherwise, while health care costs in Maryland are some of the highest in the country. Under this model all private payers — whether they’re employers, people buying coverage through the exchanges, or patients paying out of pocket — pay the same, state-mandated rates. The bill calls for initially basing prices off of Medicare‘s rates, which are lower than those private insurers pay. Click here to read AAOS’ letter to the California State Legislature opposing the scheme.
While the AAOS believes that expanding health care coverage and access should be implemented through a public-private partnership, we strongly oppose proposals that create a federal health care authority or move health care further in the direction of a single payer health care system. The AAOS believes that as policymakers consider health care reforms they should:
- Make certain that patients are empowered to control and decide how their own health care dollars are spent
- Ensure unencumbered access to specialty care
- Make health care coverage more affordable
- Improve the quality of care
- Extend both coverage and access for the uninsured and under-insured
- Avoid establishing new unsustainable programs
To read more about the AAOS position statement on the Principles of Health Care Reform and Specialty Care, please visit: https://www.aaos.org/uploadedFiles/PreProduction/About/Opinion_Statements/