Sandra Gonzalez

San Ysidro High School

As one of the most widely-recognized states in the U.S., California has grown proud of its list of accomplishments: the country’s most populated state, included amongst the world’s largest economies, home to some of the finest public education systems, and located in one of the world’s most highly-industrialized and technologically advanced first-world countries- so why has it continued to embrace the healthcare reminiscent of that of a third-world nation’s? Alarmingly, one in every five Californians is uninsured, despite the enormous amount of money that was spent on healthcare last year- one out of every six dollars in America was directed towards healthcare spending. Californians who go about uninsured include children and average working citizens who deserve immediate access to a comprehensible, affordable insurance plan.
 It is imperative that California assume responsibility for revolutionizing its healthcare system. If left disregarded, the crisis will only become irreparable, as insurance costs have risen steadily for the last five years and employers maintain their tendency to cut back on health insurance.
The California Wellness Foundation recently directed a Field Poll, and outcomes showed that an overwhelming majority of 81% voters agreed: the government should definitely guarantee access to affordable healthcare in California. According to their views on why healthcare costs have continued to surge so drastically, “Waste, fraud, and inefficiencies in the current system” were the major factors to top the list. It is only logical that we adopt a system in which affordability and effectiveness prevail, and Senator Kuehl’s proposal to ameliorate our healthcare situation through embracing Senate Bill 840 could not meet the criteria more flawlessly than it already does. No Californian would be disappointed in the results that the plan will conceive; it includes every element that individuals have long argued for in healthcare. SB 840 guarantees coverage for all residents, and best of all, does not exclude anyone for the reasons that our current healthcare system does. Kuehl’s plan does not take a patient’s “pre-existing conditions” into consideration where eligibility for healthcare is concerned. Additionally, consumers would be allowed to change jobs as often as deemed necessary without having to worry about giving up their insurance along with it, too. Currently, those who are not granted an insurance plan through their workplace- a large portion of Californians- cannot afford an individual insurance plan of their own. SB 840 would ensure that consumers will retain their healthcare plan regardless of whether they start a business, a family, or change the companies they work for. Also, the proposed Senate Bill gives patients the freedom to choose the doctors they prefer, as well as the right to stay with them should any change occur in their working circumstance. Another fundamental component of SB 840 is that it will require a state-wide trust fund to replace insurance companies. The fund would collect premium payments not only from individuals, but from employers as well- resulting in shared responsibility for the state’s healthcare system.
            When healthcare funds rely solely on a single institution, chaos can only be imminent. Currently, our healthcare system relies heavily on the will of employers to provide insurance for their workers, but as aforementioned, most fail to grant any sort of coverage. Moreover, the consequences of adopting a system in which individuals are responsible for their own coverage can already be seen in today’s healthcare: Because so many companies have neglected their workers when it comes to insurance, individuals have been forced to either attain a plan on their own, or simply go about without one- many opting for the latter. The most effective system would be one in the hands of both the state and employers- the government would create a fund to which employers, as well as individuals, would be required to contribute, thus making the shared effort increase the probability that the plan will be successful.
            The best healthcare system is that which actually cares for the individuals who receive coverage from it- and that which covers all individuals, notwithstanding ethnicity, age, previous health conditions, or workplace. It is the healthcare funded by the people and for the people; the healthcare whose existence does not depend on a few taxpayers because the rest of the state’s population cannot afford insurance themselves. If California is ever to resume its spot amongst the best in the nation, then the recovery of its healthcare system into one that will benefit and satisfy all is crucial.