The people of California cannot rely on solutions to our healthcare issues to come from the federal government. Instead, we must work to develop our own independent California healthcare network that will reliably operate regardless of events in Washington, D.C. At present, Californians are burdened with a healthcare system that prioritizes profits over patients. The two major political parties, who continue to accept massive contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, have a direct financial incentive to maintain the status quo.
One of the core values of the California National Party (CNP) is that healthcare should be a guaranteed civil right for all Californians, and we therefore support efforts to move California to a universal single-payer healthcare system, and we will work to educate Californians about the benefits of such an approach.
As part of the move away from the dysfunctional federal healthcare system, California must end the medical segregation of public health care and consolidate all federal, state, and local healthcare administrations into one unified public system, to be called the California Healthcare System, or CHS. This Medi-Cal-for-all type system will vastly reduce the cost of hospital administration by combining Medicaid, Medicare, the Veterans Administration, workers compensation, Indian Health Services, and many others into one universal system.
We propose an initial program of expanding Medi-Cal, which currently provides healthcare service to one-third of our population, to all Californians, including vision, dental, and mental health services. Care would be provided by private hospitals and practices who would then charge a fee-for-service to the CHS at rates negotiated by the government. Similar to the Canadian system, the CHS will be administered at the county level in line with policies and goals developed at the California level, which will reduce costs and simplify administration.
The astronomical prices of prescription drugs are a primary driver of rising healthcare costs. The CHS should serve as the primary negotiator for medication prices for all insurers and hospitals to help control healthcare costs, specifically through sourcing prescription drugs internationally so as to bring our costs in line with the global average. To further reduce prescription drug costs, we also propose a restriction on pharmaceutical advertising within California to the extent possible under federal law, with a complete ban on independence.
As time goes on California will develop its own system with lessons learned from that experience and informed by the practice of similar nations. Such possible approaches include a public hospital network to compete with the private sector, a national health insurance program with private supplements available through employers or individual purchase, and other policies that foster the ultimate goal of providing access to quality healthcare for all Californians.
Healthcare is a civil right and, as such, all Californians must have equal access to it. Historically, healthcare has been inadequately provided to communities marginalized for reasons of race, ethnicity, age, income, disability, and sexual or gender identity, as well as to less densely populated rural areas. To counteract these long-standing failings, the CNP proposes:
- Construction of a hospital in each county, or in smaller counties a clinic if they choose.
- A managed care system that is all-encompassing, focusing on preventative medicine and healthy living, reducing expensive emergency care.
- Return to using house calls and/or telehealth and video conferencing for family medicine to limit cost, especially in rural communities.
- Neighborhood clinics, nutritional assistance, and other health necessities to historically neglected communities and identities, including multilingual healthcare service.
- Establishing a system for giving current and potential parents and guardians basic childrearing resources and information about birth control, pregnancy, and early childhood development.
- Tax credits and access to healthcare training for caregivers of elderly and disabled family members to help maintain strong, multi-generational communities.
- Denial of reimbursement through the CHS to doctors and clinics who refuse patients based on their race, gender, sexuality, disability, religion, or other status unrelated to health.
Medical Education and Malpractice
California should make healthcare education free for California residents, forgive existing medical and nursing school debt, and have college students enroll in a CHS Program for Medical Professionals early in their secondary education. This will facilitate the implementation of a more reasonable pay scale. California must increase the number of doctors by opening additional medical schools and having larger graduating classes.
California needs to implement limited liability insurance for doctors, have the state be partially liable for medical mistakes within the public system, and conduct research as to exactly how many unnecessary deaths and other medical errors are occurring presently. Regular reports on medical malpractice and how to reduce it will maximize the ability of Californians to pursue healthy lifestyles.