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Atkins' Single-Payer Health Care Proposal Missing Financing

Dr. Leonid Basovich, left, examines Medi-Cal patient Michael Epps, at the WellSpace Clinic in Sacramento, California, February 2016.
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
Dr. Leonid Basovich, left, examines Medi-Cal patient Michael Epps, at the WellSpace Clinic in Sacramento, California, February 2016.

Atkins’ Single-Payer Health Care Proposal Missing Financing
State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, has released more details about her bill to create a single-payer health care system — but there's no word on who will pay for it.

State Sen. Toni Atkins of San Diego thinks the time is right for a major shakeup of California's health care system.

She’s proposed a bill that could make single-payer a reality.

But Atkins hasn't released any details of how it would be paid for.

Under her proposal, the state would cover all health-care expenses regardless of one’s income. Covered services would include inpatient, outpatient, vision, dental and even nursing home care.

There would be no copays or deductibles. And consumers could see any doctor they wanted, no referrals necessary.

Dr. Bob Hertzka is an anesthesiologist and assistant professor of health policy at UC San Diego. He thinks there's likely a big catch.

“When you get rid of insurance premiums and all of that, you can’t really reclaim that money, so you have to tax people to get it," Hertzka said.

Atkins' bill calls for the single-payer system to be overseen by an independent public board.

Hertzka said that probably won't fly.

“In San Diego we’ve got Kaiser, we’ve got Sharp, we’ve got other systems that run well," he said. "They could run better. But to scrap all of that, and put it all out of Sacramento, it’s just too big a leap.”

Supporters say a single-payer system would be more efficient and would save consumers money in the long run.