Universal Health Care

Health care is a human right. California needs a publicly funded and administered, equitable, universal, guaranteed Single Payer health care system for all.

Every person has the right to quality, equitable, efficient, and accessible health care, confidentiality of medical data and records, and the right to own and control any information or materials derived from their body.

In California, a substantial portion of the population is uninsured. Many more have insurance that is inadequate to pay for the care they need. Out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, premiums, and co-pays significantly increase every year. Many, especially uninsured families, part-time workers, small business owners, students and even seniors, pay out of their pockets for large portions of their health care and medication costs. The United States spends more per person for health care than any other nation in the world and yet has the worst health outcomes among the developed countries according to the World Health Organization.

Studies have shown conclusively that replacing private for-profit, health care insurance and its massive administrative costs with a government-run single-payer, not-for-profit health insurer that covers every resident, will improve health outcomes and save tens of thousands of patient lives in addition to hundreds of billions of dollars.

The GPCA advocates for:

1. A Single Payer universal health care system. This means a wholly publicly-funded health insurance system for ALL offered by the government, (and not connected to employment status) that would control health care spending through a simplified administrative structure, consolidated financing and purchasing, and statewide health care planning. This system brings equity, simplicity, efficiency, cost savings, quality, choice, and ‘care’ back to health care.

2. Comprehensive health care benefits. Such a state or federal system must offer comprehensive benefits including complete medical, dental, mental health, preventative care, pharmaceutical, chiropractic, vision, hearing, reproductive health care, gender reassignment, long-term care, in-home and rehabilitation/recovery care, hospice, and workers’ compensation medical services, with no medically necessary service excluded. Treatments to minimize post-traumatic stress syndromes, mental distress, and psychological problems after injury, illness, or social neglect must be fully covered.

3. Equitable health care guaranteed FOR ALL. This health care system must cover everyone, regardless of race, age, income, sex, gender, gender identity, country of origin, ability/disability, physical and mental health, immigration status, marital status, or employment status, so everyone can get the care they need. This healthcare system must close the massive racial, ethnical, economic, and geographic disparities in medical care that affect the most vulnerable and disenfranchised communities, already facing greater health risks and less access to safety net programs. Our system must mandate health care providers to serve all users and use all means of accessible communication and translation. Health systems should establish parity between mental and physical health treatments.

4. Culturally competent care. Our health care system must affirm rights to human dignity, personal choice, and privacy. It must practice respect and reasonable accommodation for racial, ethnic, religious, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ability/disabilities, and other cultural and social needs/differences. We oppose triage policies in medical care such as those used during epidemics and pandemics that disproportionately target people with disabilities, chronic illness, low income, or those who are incarcerated, homeless, or in high-risk communities impacted most by biases in medical treatment.

5. Patient rights and freedom of choice. Patients must have full control and choice in health care providers and treatment, and the right to refuse treatment. Patients must have confidentiality as part of a patient's Bill of Rights that includes the right to informed consent without force or coercion for all medical, dental, pharmaceutical, or other procedures performed on them that involve their body such as tissue/organ extraction, insertion, injection, sampling, testing or imaging. Patients must have control and ownership of information and biological products including all embryonic and genetic materials. Patients' informed consent must also be verifiable or transferred to a person designated with Power of Attorney. We support psychology talk therapy over drug therapy and no forced treatment.

6. A holistic approach to health care. Different philosophies of care, broadly characterized as conventional and alternative/complementary care co-exist in a comprehensive and compassionate health care system. We support funding research for both conventional and alternative/complementary care to prevent, treat, cure and recover from illnesses and injuries. We support licensing and full oversight of practitioners for all health care modalities with proven benefit or widespread popular acceptance, such as acupuncture, herbal, and traditional medicine identical to standards for other health care professionals. We also support funding public education campaigns on healthy lifestyles and self-healing practices such as the voluntary adoption of plant-based diets.

7. Fair distribution of health care funding. Public resources funding health care must be distributed fairly, transparently, efficiently and cost effectively because they belong to all of us. Disparities between investments in health care for the wealthy and low income must end. Health care costs account for a substantial portion of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, while public spending on health care has turned into a system of mass subsidies for the for-profit health care and insurance industries and their wealthy executives.
Pharmaceuticals substantially developed with support of public subsidies should be open source and non-patentable. We support legislation and government mandates that prevent reformulation of current drugs which artificially extend the life of a patent to maximize profits at a cost to the health and wellbeing of patients.

8. Ending health care corporate profiteering. Profits for pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and all for-profit insurance providers are unjustifiably high because they are all heavily subsidized by tax breaks, special patent legislation, lucrative licensing arrangements by the federal government, and direct government subsidies for research and development, all eagerly supported by corporate-friendly lawmakers and politicians funded by the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies.

A publicly funded and administered Single Payer insurer will bring down the soaring costs of health care delivery and prescription drugs through bulk purchasing, in line with what other countries in the world spend while providing an equitable, quality health care system for all.

(Amended by GPCA Standing General Assembly, June 19, 2022, SGA ID#236)