Healthcare cost calculator shows most Californians would save big with Medicare for All

Universal health activists in California on Monday unveiled a tool they say shows how most working families would save at least hundreds — and likely thousands — of dollars each year if the state implemented a system of the Medicare for All type.

“Every second of inaction costs hundreds of dollars, and every year of inaction has an even greater cost: 4,000 lives.”

The advocacy group Healthy California Now, together with the National Union of Healthcare Workers and James G. Kahn, a professor and health financing expert at the University of California, San Francisco, launched a calculator that compares what individuals or families are currently spending with what their costs would be under the type of Medicare for All system that Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom campaigned on a promise to adopt, but doesn’t did nothing to move forward.

“It’s a new day for health care reform in California, and by working together, Californians can save our state billions, every family thousands, and most importantly, ensure health care for all. so that everyone has equal access to lifesaving treatment,” said the president of Healthy California Now. Michael Lighty said in a statement. “Every second of inaction costs hundreds of dollars, and every year of inaction has an even greater cost: 4,000 lives.”

According to the calculator, a family earning the California median annual household income of $78,600 and paying $500 in monthly health insurance premiums and $4,000 in annual fees, of which the employer contributes $1,400 per month towards healthcare, would save nearly $16,500 each year. within the framework of a system of health insurance for all. A person earning $50,000 a year with a monthly health insurance bill of $300, a $500 employer contribution, and $1,500 in self-funded health expenses would save $7,600 a year.

For an uninsured individual or family earning less than $50,000 with less than $2,500 in health care expenses, the savings would range from a few hundred to about $2,000 per year.

“Taxpayers are already footing the bill for more than 70% of our state’s health care,” Kahn said in a statement. “The savings we can achieve by reducing private health insurance waste will allow us to provide better health care services to all Californians while reducing costs.”

“Our spending estimates under a universal health care system take into account the additional taxes needed to cover the single-payer budget, while premiums and out-of-pocket payments disappear,” he added. “Overall spending for the single payer will be lower than under the current system, and taxes will only be higher for very high-income people and corporations. So the vast majority of working families will save money. “

Despite campaigning on a pledge to provide single-payer healthcare, Newsom disappointed campaigners by backtracking on his promise and socket hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the private health insurance industry.

In January, AB 1400, a bill that would have implemented a single-payer health care system in California, was withdrawn from consideration in the state Assembly in an eleventh-hour move that shocked and outraged progressives who had fought for the measure.

While Newsom has expressed concerns about the cost of universal care, the Governor’s Healthy California for All Commission reported in April that such a system would save 4,000 lives a year and $500 billion over the next decade. Meanwhile, the commission found that health care costs are expected to rise 30% over the next 10 years under the current system.

write for Common dreamsLighty said in an opinion piece on Sunday that the commission’s report “shows that we simply cannot afford not to embrace universal health care.”

“The door to quality, universal and affordable care is open,” he wrote. “On the other side is a California where we save lives and save money by reducing waste and bureaucracy and putting quality health care ahead of private insurance company profits.”

A 2020 study published in the medical journal Lancet found that Medicare for All nationwide would save Americans $450 billion and avert 68,000 unnecessary deaths each year. Last month, Common dreams reported that a universal, single-payer healthcare system such as Medicare for All could have prevented 338,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the United States.

Eleanor C. William