Bill AB3087 is a proposal that is currently being debated in the California state legislature. The bill, had it passed its recent committee vote, would have instituted price controls for a large variety of healthcare services. This would have included doctor’s office visits, surgeries, hospital stays, and more.
The bill was presented by assemblyman Ash Kalra, who said that he knew it was a “long shot” anyway. He said that his purpose in bringing the bill forward was to draw attention to the growing cost of healthcare and its impacts upon the citizens. This bill would have set up a 9-member commission appointed by the state government, who would have set prices for all medical procedures from routine checkups to major surgeries. These prices would have been based on the current Medicare rates. It would have had a system of appeal built into it, so that individual doctors and providers could have some recourse. It is a new idea that has not been implemented in any state.
Those who oppose the bill say that it would be detrimental to California’s health care system as a whole. They say it is a short-sighted idea that would not actually have solved any of the root problems. They further state that it would have led to longer wait times, higher prices, hospitals laying off workers or shutting down, and a lot of doctors moving out of state or retiring.
One of the bill’s opponents was Dr. Theodore Maze. As president of the California Medical Association, he thanked and applauded the assembly, saying that the legislation was “deeply flawed”. He also said that it would have resulted in enormous costs to the state and would have made it harder for people to find good healthcare in the state.
One thing is for sure: with the cost of healthcare on the rise, someone will eventually need to deal with this problem. Healthcare costs have risen faster than wages for years now, even after adjusting for inflation. Many labor unions backed Kalra’s bill because their wages cannot keep up with these rising costs. Employers and health plans tend to shift all the responsibility onto the patient, burdening them with a huge debt. America pays more for its healthcare than the vast majority of the civilized world.
However, this bill is not going to satisfy enough of its critics to become law, at least not this year. If you would like to read more, the source material for this article can be found at: http://www.wdtn.com/news/national/bill-to-create-health-care-price-controls-in-california-dies/1199295323