California’s Select Committee Hearing on Health Reform

Informational Hearing: Health Care Delivery Systems in California and Other Countries

California Legislature, October 23-24, 2017

Joaquin Arambula, Chair: One of the things that is quite striking and sad is that we lose our health care here in America when you lose your job. It seems like that’s the last time that you would want to be losing your health care coverage. And so I’m wondering how do other countries… Is it just that commitment that health care is a human right? Is it the belief that we are in this in solidarity? To be equitable partners as members of the same community, and how best can we help those who through no fault of their own may have lost their employment and now can’t afford the care that they will require?

Robin Osborn, Vice President and Director, International Program in Health Policy and Practice innovations, The Commonwealth Fund: So, I think that you used the word that comes up very frequently in talking to people from these other health care systems, and solidarity is it. I mean there is a strong sense of an entitlement as a basic human right to health care. So that’s not… There isn’t a debate about that in these countries. And even where there is a difference in political parties around a vision for the health care system, it is not as dramatic... and maybe polarizes you like we see here in the United States. There basically is a general acceptance of “this is our health care system.” And maybe there are reforms about how doctors will be paid or maybe reforms about how primary care practices will be organized, but there is usually sort of a broad commitment and level of support for having the health care system that they have. So I think it’s a different starting place from maybe where we are now.

Assembly Select Committee Informational Hearing: Health Care Delivery Systems in California and Other Countries

October 23, 2017: California’s Current System and Current Gaps in Coverage
October 24, 2017: Universal Coverage Systems in Other Countries

For links to agenda and archived videos:



By Don McCanne, M.D.

This Select Committee of the California State Assembly was formed to take a comprehensive look at health care reform options in response to a decision to hold in committee the single payer bill that had already passed in the State Senate, SB 562 - The Healthy California Act.

On the second day of the first hearing, testimony was presented by Robin Osborn and Sara Collins of The Commonwealth Fund demonstrating that other wealthy nations are much more effective than we are in ensuring health care access and affordability for everyone. How do they do it? As Robin Osborn explains, it’s through solidarity. Other nations do not even have to think about that. It is a given.

Can we have that here? Maybe if we cut out all the political noise and start talking to each other.

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