Senator Stone's Editorial in the Riverside Press-Enterprise tells why SB 562 is a bad deal for California

Byu Senator Jeff Stone
Monday, May 8, 2017

Also published at The Press Enterprise

If you like your current health care plan, Senate Bill 562 is a bad deal.

If you don’t like your current health care plan, SB562 is a worse deal.

This legislation, while well intentioned, would force millions of Californians out of their current health care plans into a government-run system that will eventually result in government bureaucrats making health care decisions currently made by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.

If you think that lines at the DMV are long, just wait until you need an MRI at your doctor’s office or hospital.

This legislation promises a lot — less expensive health care, coverage to everyone here in California, and better quality care.

This bill, however, does absolutely nothing to address the real health care needs of Californians. It is true that we have a crisis in our current health care system, but this bill makes the problem worse — not better.

SB562 takes away people’s private health care insurance and replaces it with a government-run program. Yes, we all have had problems with our insurance companies, but is replacing that model with one that relies on the same people who are supposed to fix our roads, manage our state budget and run our DMV the best answer?

If this legislation were passed and signed into law, Californians would be on the hook to pay for a $200 billion program. Our entire General Fund today rests at roughly $125 billion, so this one bill will cost more than our entire current state budget.

How do the authors propose we pay for this new government entitlement?

First, we can expect a nearly 10 percent tax on all of our incomes. That means most working people in the state will have a roughly 20 percent state income tax.

Second, we can expect a payroll tax of roughly 20 percent that will have to be paid by employers in the state. This one piece of legislation alone will wipe out the profits of nearly all small businesses that employ approximately 90 percent of the people who have jobs in our state.

When will lawmakers learn that we can’t keep promising the world without regard to how much it costs?

When will legislators wake up and understand that giving free entitlements that cost taxpayers billions of dollars to everybody ultimately hurts all of us who deeply care about our great state?

Instead of imposing government-run health care on everybody, the state would be better off increasing Medi-Cal reimbursement rates to allow more doctors to be able to survive by practicing in underserved communities. The average reimbursement rate a doctor receives to see a Medi-Cal patient is roughly $17 — that’s less than it costs to have a pizza delivered to your home.

I’ve consistently fought to increase the Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, but Democrats in the Legislature and the governor have refused.

The real answer to our health care crisis is to find a way to get more services to more people.

Insurance isn’t the problem — access to actual care is the crisis. If anyone believes that SB562 will make it easier to get in and see a doctor, I’ve got a farm that sells unicorns and rainbows.