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Rich kids like me get great mental health care. With Medicare for All, others can, too.

I’ve been in therapy since I was 9 years old. You should be so lucky.

Let me explain: For my whole life I’ve struggled with generalized anxiety disorder, a condition that can make even the simplest decisions and actions debilitating. Anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions are not uncommon in children, especially those who come from a family with a history of mental illness, like mine.

Children and teenagers with a psychiatric disorder have six times higher odds of having health, legal, financial and social problems as adults.

Democrats’ promise of Medicare for All is remarkably misguided and unrealistic

“We have got to figure out how we pay for it. It’s unrealistic in how we pay for it today.” That was how former Virginia governor and potential presidential candidate Terry McAuliffe characterized Medicare for All, even as he was announcing his support for it.

McAuliffe is certainly right about the unrealistic part, although otherworldly would be a more appropriate description.

Put simply, there is nothing like Medicare for All anywhere in the industrialized world.

Legislative Update – Key Bills

AB 4 (Arambula) / SB 289 (Durazo) — Medi-Cal eligibility 

AB 174 (Wood) / SB 65 (Pan) — Personal income tax credit for specified insurance premiums 

AB 844 (Irwin) — Health facilities: mandated hospital services and activities (Sponsor)

AB 890 (Wood) — Nurse practitioners 

SB 10 (Beall) — Mental health peer support 

SB 175 (Pan) / AB 414 (Bonta) — Individual mandate 

SB 382 (Nielsen) — Health care coverage: state of emergency (Sponsor)

SB 758 (Portantino) — Hospital seismic safety (Sponsor)

AB 290 (Wood) — Health care service plans and health insurance: third-party payments (Oppose)

AB 682 (Eggman) — Health facilities: residential mental health or substance use disorder treatment (Oppose)

AB 1014 (O’Donnell) — Health facilities: notices (Oppose)

SB 227 (Leyva) — Health and care facilities: inspections and penalties (Oppose)

SB 567 (Caballero) — Workers’ compensation: hospital employees (Oppose)

AB 204 (Wood) — Community benefits plan reporting 

AB 910 (Wood) — General acute care hospitals: consolidated licensing 

AB 1544 (Gipson) — Community Paramedicine or Triage to Alternate Destination Act 

AB 1611 (Chiu) — Emergency hospital services: costs 

SB 464 (Mitchell) — California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act 

A Change in Tactics

Those that advocate for change in healthcare most often make their case based on the unsustainable cost or poor quality care that is sadly the norm. A 2018 article in Bloomberg highlights this fact by reporting on global healthcare efficiency, a composite marker of cost and life expectancy. Not remarkably, the United States ranks 54th globally, down four spots from 2017 and sandwiched neatly between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria. Unarguably, the US is a leader in medical education, technology, and research. Sadly, our leadership in these areas only makes our failure to provide cost-effective, quality care that much more shameful. For the well-off, the prospect of excellent accessible care is bright, but, as the Bloomberg article points out, as a nation our rank is rank. Anecdotally, I can report that as a physician I am called upon with some regularity to intervene on the behalf of family and friends to get a timely appointment or explain a test or study that their doctor was too busy to explain, and so even for the relatively well-off, care can be difficult and deficient.

HLWI Meetings

The Hospital Laboratory Workforce Initiative’s Advisory Group meets periodically throughout the year. Listed below are the upcoming dates and times, as well as meeting information packets from previous meetings.


March 6, 2019 (Sacramento)

September 24, 2019 (via conference call)

Legislative Update – All Bills

Lawmakers have introduced 420 new bills for 2019; the deadline to introduce new bills is February 22. Many bills have been introduced as spot bills, which contain language declaring the Legislature’s intent but provide few details. These bills will eventually be amended prior to their hearings in policy committees to include the actual language.

At this time, CHA is reviewing close to 100 legislative bills for position.

Commentary: Congress can deliver on its promise with a federal reinsurance program

When Americans are asked what issue is most important to them, healthcare continues to top the charts. The 116th Congress is dominated by lawmakers who pledged last fall to make healthcare more affordable.

Late last month, Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) introduced the State Health Care Premium Reduction Act to lower health insurance premiums in the individual market. Craig has said she supports stabilizing the individual marketplace with bipartisan ideas such as a federal reinsurance program. In fact, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has set a hearing on a federal reinsurance program this week.