October 12, 2017: After Congress failed to pass a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act before the reconciliation period expired, President Trump has signed an executive order to undercut the ACA. The order directs federal agencies to allow the interstate sale of association health plans, extend the length of coverage of short-term insurance policies,
An association health plan is a form of insurance where small businesses band together through an association to negotiate health benefits. The executive order allow employers in the same line of work to form an association health plan together to offer healthcare to employees regardless of the state. This would allow people to buy cheaper insurance with fewer benefits than what the ACA marketplaces offer. These plans may attract healthy people, causing the marketplaces to have fewer healthy people and thus increasing premiums.
The executive order also changes the availability of short-term insurance policies. These policies offer limited benefits and are intended to offer temporary insurance to those between jobs or young adults no longer eligible for their parents’ health plans. Under the Obama administration, short-term insurance could not last for more than three months, but Trump’s order would extend that to almost a year.
September 12, 2017: Bernie Sanders has announced that he plans to release his “Medicare for All” single payer bill on September 13th. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) have announced that they will co-sponsor the bill.
However, not all Democrats are on board. On September 12, according to the Washington Post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that single payer is not a litmus test for Democrats and that she is focused on protecting health-care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
August 15, 2017: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently visited the Central Valley for his election campaign. As he spoke to the public, he asserted that he supported the debate over California adopting a single payer healthcare system. He also warned that although he supported “Medicare for all,” he admitted that he did not have a detailed plan.
Throughout June and July, the California Nurses Association continued to lead a series of protests after California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shelved the Healthy California Act (SB-562) on June 23, 2017. The bill, which was passed by the California Senate in early June, would create a single payer, universal healthcare program for everyone in the state. Assembly Speaker Rendon put the bill on hold for the remainder of the year after acknowledging that there remain many unanswered questions about how the program will work and be funded.
— You can read HRT’s executive summary of the bill here.
— For full text of the bill, you can visit the California Legislative Branch website.
— You can also read about who supports and who disapproves of SB-562 here.