Home>Articles>As Fifth Circuit Court Strikes Down Affordable Care Act, Gov. Gavin Newsom Drills Down on Single Payer

Gov. Gavin Newsom (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

As Fifth Circuit Court Strikes Down Affordable Care Act, Gov. Gavin Newsom Drills Down on Single Payer

California will need federal approval, even if the Legislature supports a Single Payer system

By Katy Grimes, December 19, 2019 8:05 am

As a three-judge panel with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s individual mandate this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced he will pursue single payer for California. To enact a single-payer system, California will need federal government approval even if the Legislature approves it.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision agreed with a Texas Superior Court decision in Texas v. U.S., that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The judges sent the remainder of the case back to the same lower court in Texas to consider whether the rest of the ACA is also unconstitutional.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the 21 Democratic state attorneys general defending the law, along with the U.S. House of Representatives, immediately announced he would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, Commonwealthfund.org reported.

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement regarding the ruling expressing his disagreement, and then announced the launch of the Healthy California for All Commission to develop a plan for creating a Single Payer system in California.

Single payer is a universal state-run healthcare system financed by taxpayers, that covers the costs of healthcare for all residents by a single public system. California already approved a plan in June to spend $213 billion in state and federal tax dollars on free healthcare for illegal immigrants.

Breitbart reported:

Critics of the plan say that the estimates of a mere $93 million for the new healthcare will be dwarfed by the real expenses when millions more illegals stream to California from other states in order to get the free healthcare.

California has already extended Medicaid to illegals under 19 years of age.

The plan drew the attention of U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy who said he would look for ways to prevent federal tax dollars from going to the healthcare for illegals program. That drew rebuke from California’s left-wing Gov, Gavin Newsom.

“The Affordable Care Act has transformed and saved countless lives in California and across our nation, and California has long led the fight to protect the law and all those who count on it,” Newsom said. “Although the Fifth Circuit decision creates uncertainty for the Affordable Care Act and the millions of Americans who rely on its critical protections, Californians should know that nothing in that decision impacts access to affordable healthcare in our state today. No matter what happens in Washington or Texas, our state will push forward on our efforts to ensure healthcare access for all Californians and protect the Affordable Care Act for the nation. Our fight is not over.”

The Governor’s office reported:

Appointments come same day that Covered California announced that more than 230,000 new consumers have joined Covered California during the current open enrollment period – up approximately 16 percent over this time last year. More than 1.15 million people have also renewed their coverage

California’s individual market consistently ranks among the healthiest in the nation, helping unsubsidized consumers save about $1,550 annually in 2018 on their premiums compared to consumers in the federal marketplace.

Commission to consist of 13 voting members including chair Secretary of Health and Human Services Mark Ghaly, eight gubernatorial appointees and four legislative appointees. There are also five ex-officio, non-voting members.

Governor’s appointees include health experts in business, philanthropy, academia and labor.

Commission will hold first public meeting Jan. 27 in Sacramento.

“California leads the nation in enacting progressive health care reforms – taking big steps toward universal coverage and passing first in the nation measures to make health care more affordable for families,” said Governor Newsom. “As our march toward universal coverage continues I am calling on the brightest minds – from public and private sectors – to serve in the Healthy California for All Commission to improve the health of our state.

The commission has 13 voting members including Secretary Ghaly, eight gubernatorial appointees and four legislative appointees. There are also five ex-officio, non-voting members.

“We believe that every Californian should have a right to affordable health care regardless of wealth, zip code, race, disability or gender. Yet, despite many gains in coverage, nearly 3 million Californians lack health care and high costs burden too many families,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, who will chair the Commission. “The role of the Healthy California for All Commission will be to provide policy recommendations that will set us on the path toward high-quality, affordable universal coverage for all.”

Throughout his first year in office the Governor and legislature worked to move California closer to universal health care coverage by expanding coverage, increasing Covered California subsidies for middle-income Californians and taking on rising prescription drug prices. The 2019-20 Budget invests $1.45 billion over three years to increase Covered California health insurance premium support for low-income Californians – and provides premium support for the first time to qualified middle-income individuals earning up to $72,000 and families of four earning up to $150,000, partially funded by restoration of an enforceable Individual Mandate. It expands Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible undocumented young adults ages 19 through 25 and includes an increase of $1 billion, using Prop 56 funding, to support increased rates to Medi-Cal providers, expanded family planning services, and value-based payments that encourage more effective treatment of patients with chronic conditions.

The Governor’s appointees to the Healthy California for All Commission are:

Carmen Comsti, 35, of Oakland, a nurses union regulatory policy specialist at the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United, and attorney fellow at the Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Law and Policy from 2012 to 2014.  Comsti is a Democrat.

Jennie C. Hansen, 71, of San Francisco, an independent consultant at Hirsch and Associates LLC, a federal commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, among other positions dealing with  Gerontology and Geriatrics. Hansen is a Democrat.

Sandra R. Hernandez, 62, of San Francisco, has been president and chief executive officer at the California Health Care Foundation since 2014. She was chief executive officer at the San Francisco Foundation from 1997 to 2013. Hernandez was assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco from 1988 to 2016. She is a member of the Covered California Board of Directors and the UC Regents Health Services Committee. Hernandez is a former co-chair of San Francisco’s Universal Healthcare Council. She earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Tufts School of Medicine. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Hernandez is a Democrat.

William C. Hsiao, 83, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has served as a research professor of economics at the department of health policy management and the department of global health and population at Harvard University since 1974. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Hsiao is a Democrat.

Rupa Marya, 44, of Oakland, is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where she has been on faculty since 2007. Marya is a member of the Board of The Mni Wiconi Health Clinic and Farm at Standing Rock. She was co-investigator of the Justice Study from 2016 to 2019 and is faculty director of the Do No Harm Coalition. Marya earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Georgetown University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Marya is a registered without party preference.

Robert Ross, 65, of Altadena, has been president and chief executive officer of the California Endowment since 2000. He was director of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency from 1993 to 2000. Ross was commissioner of public health at the City of Philadelphia from 1990 to 1993. He was founding medical director at the LINK school-based clinic program from 1986 to 1990. Ross was an instructor of clinical medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 1984 to 1990. He was a diplomate at the American Academy of Pediatrics from 1983 to 1993. He is a board member of California Health Benefit Exchange and the National Executives’ Alliance on Boys and Young Men of Color. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Ross is a Democrat.

Richard Scheffler, 76, of Berkeley, has served as a professor at the School of Public Health and the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley since 2018. He was a professor of health economics and public policy at University of California Berkeley from 1981 to 2018. He held the Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare Chair endowed by Office of the California Attorney General from 1999 to 2018. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Scheffler is a Democrat.

Andy Schneider, 71, of Washington, D.C., has been research professor of practice at the Center for Children and Families in the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy since 2017. He was senior advisor at the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services from 2014 to 2017. Schneider was an independent consultant from 2011 to 2014. Schneider was chief health counsel for the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce from 2009 to 2010 and for the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 2007 to 2009. He was health counsel at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in 1997 and an independent Medicaid consultant from 1998 to 2006. Schneider was policy advisor for Medicaid at the Office of the House Minority Leader from 1995 to 1996. He was health counsel to the subcommittee on health and environment at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce from 1979 to 1994. Schneider earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Schneider is a Democrat.

The Legislature’s appointees are:

  • Sara Flocks, policy coordinator with the California Labor Federation (Senate appointee);
  • Janice Rocco, deputy commissioner, health policy and reform, Department of Insurance (Senate appointee);
  • Antonia Hernandez, CEO of the California Community Foundation (Assembly appointee); and
  • Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access (Assembly appointee)

The Commission’s ex officio members are:

  • Richard Figueroa, acting director of the Department of Health Care Services;
  • Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California;
  • Don Moulds, chief health director of CalPERS;
  • Senator Richard Pan, chair of the Senate Health Committee; and
  • Assemblymember Jim Wood, chair of the Assembly Health Committee
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5 thoughts on “As Fifth Circuit Court Strikes Down Affordable Care Act, Gov. Gavin Newsom Drills Down on Single Payer

  1. My son who is 26 years old and is self imployed pays $4,200 year for basic coverage and yes he is part of covered California. No health problems. He and many other are subsidising all the others including non-citizens. He really needs another car for his employment but he must subsidise others; thus no newer car.

    1. You are correct John about the surprisingly high cost of Covered California. And you are also right that your son, and many others, are subsidizing coverage for others who don’t pay nearly that much. The way the Affordable Care Act was set up, they assumed that healthy young people would sign up, and they would be the ones to subsidize others. But they did not sign up in droves because for the healthy majority of young people, being uninsured is 5 times cheaper than being insured. So the ones who did sign up, along with most of the middle class forced into it, are paying to subsidize the previously uninsured.

  2. The government, specially as corrupt as Ca. Under Newsom, have never been able to run things effectively or efficiently. Look at the UC System; they have gone from a 1 to 1 ratio of teachers and none teaching approximately 34000 full time equivalent teachers and approximately 87000 none teaching positions. And we wonder why higher ed cost so much. Also, when you are beholden to government for your healthcare, they have you under their dictatorial thumbs. Not a good place to be.

  3. Anything Gov. Newsome is bound to be corrupt. How else can you explain why he wants to give free healthcare to illegal immigrants. All the while suggesting and backing new taxes and fees for California citizens. The liberal electorate have destroyed California by electing individuals like Gavin Newsome. So if your hoping for relief from this liberal insanity your wasting your time. The Democrats are so well entrenched in this state that it will have to completely collapse under the debt of the state. Unfortunately everyone is hurt then both conservative and liberal. Thanks Newsome

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