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The single-payer health care debate has been relatively quiet in California since Senate Bill 562, The Healthy California Act, was tabled by the Speaker of the Assembly at the end of July. But the conversation is about to heat up again in California—and at the national level. For employee benefit advisors who aren’t fascinated by the legislative process, or who think we have a long way to go before a concrete policy could actually be implemented, the single-payer debate can be a distraction. But it’s important to be aware of the issue, since it could have a major impact on the current employee benefits landscape. Here are four things all advisors should know about the current state of single-payer in California and beyond.

1. California Senate Bill 562, The Healthy California Act, is not dead. The bill was approved by the State Senate on June 1, 2017, and then moved on to the State Assembly. In a surprise move, Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon delayed the bill in the Assembly Rules Committee for further discussion and debate. It will be revisited in January 2018, and could continue its progress through the state legislature and ultimately land on the governor’s desk for approval in 2018. It’s important for advisors to know that this particular bill proposes an extreme form of universal coverage known as single-payer, which would eliminate the private insurance industry in California, including health insurance carriers, brokers and employer-sponsored benefits. It would replace not just health insurance (including Medicare and Covered California), but dental, vision, workers’ compensation and long-term care insurance, with a state-run program.

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