State of California (Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Yuba Counties) November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter

Heath Care Reform

By Thomas "Tom" Romero

Candidate for State Senator; District 1

This information is provided by the candidate
This position paper discusses the need for health care reform in California and the effect of Single Payer Fee For Service as an option.


There are now 43.2 million Americans, almost one in six people, without health insurance. That is more than 16% of our national population is unprotected. There are nearly 11 million families with incomes between $30,000 and $60,000 in 1997 who were uninsured. There were 5.8 million families with incomes more than $60,000 who were also uninsured. That means more than 10 million children and 30 million adults have no coverage, not even for basic protection.

These facts do not speak well for the future of our state and nation. But we have seen that the government in Washington is unable to bring about health care reform (Democrats or Republican). We in California can act alone. We don't need to wait for the rest of the country. California has the 7th largest economy in the world. Our population and wealth are greater than that of Canada, yet Canada has a system of health protection for all of its citizens. As your state senator I want to help develop a California health system that will protect children, single working parents, families, and the retired--we can go it alone and let the rest of the country follow.

As your state senator I want to be an added voice to the present dialogue to build a system of health protection for all our citizens. I support the concept of the "Single Payer System." I don't know if that will be the final answer to our health care problems but the dialogue must continue and I believe that the Single Payer System will work in some form for the protection of Californians.

The facts on Single Payer are:

All Californians would receive comprehensive medical benefits under the single payer system. Coverage would include all medical necessary services, including rehabilitative, long term, and home care; mental health care, prescription drugs, and medical supplies; and preventive and public health measurers.

Hospital billing would be virtually eliminated. Instead, hospitals would receive an annual lump-sum payment from the state government to cover operating expenses--a "global budget." A separate budget would cover such expenses as hospital expansion, the purchase of technology, marketing and other expenses of operation.

Doctors would have three options for payment: fee-for-service ( physicians in private practice), salaried in hospitals, and salaried positions within in group practices or HMOs. Fees would be negotiated between a representative of the fee-for-service practitioners (such as the state medical society) and a state payment board. The board not employers would serve as the administrators, a savings especially for small employers. In general business would see that single payer limit their health care costs and remove the burden of administering health care insurance for their employees.

The program would be financed and administered by the state government. Premiums, copayments, and deductibles would be eliminated. Employers would pay about 7.0 percent payroll tax and employees would pay 2.0 percent, essentially converting premium payments to a health care payroll tax. 90 to 95 percent of people would pay less overall for health care. The cost savings of the system would provide coverage to those currently under served, children, single working parents and the retired.

We must begin the dialogue or California and the nation will fall further behind the rest of the industrialized world in the health care protection of its citizens. The youth should not be denied elementary protection. Working families should not have to struggle with health care costs. And the retired should not have to decide between buying food and buying necessary medications.

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