On May 10, 2023, I flew to Sacramento, California and joined other insurance professionals for a day at the Capitol, which included meeting with elected officials and discussing issues of importance to small and mid-sized employers that offer group medical, dental, vision and other types of insurance coverage to their employees.
Meeting with Assembly Member Lisa Calderon (center), chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee.
Agents Advocate on behalf of Small and Mid-Size Businesses and their Employees
We had good discussions with the chair of the Assembly Insurance Committee, Assembly Member Lisa Calderon (D-Whittier); and with Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Montebello); and, with staff members for other legislators. We discussed the work that insurance agents do to help small and medium-sized businesses figure out which plans to offer employees; and how to set up and administer plans, and how to solve problems.
We had a refreshing discussion with Alex Hirsch who is the policy consultant for the chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park). Alex said that he wanted to thank the health insurance agents for being consumer advocates. He understands that we educate our clients, advocate on their behalf, and solve problems. It was very heart-warming to have a legislative staff member understand what we do and thank us for our efforts.
Meeting with Senator Bob Archuleta (second from right).
SB 770 Single Payer Proposal
We discussed SB 770 introduced by Sen. Wiener (D-San Francisco) which would begin the path to a single-payer health care system. While all agree that universal coverage for medical services is necessary, this legislation would begin the process of transferring seniors enrolled in Medicare; veterans enrolled with the VA; low-income people enrolled in Medi-Cal/Medicaid; and all employees enrolled in group medical insurance plans through an employer, to a single government run medical plan.
We feel that there are better, less expensive and less disruptive ways to cover all people with affordable coverage. According to this report by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, the vast majority of the uninsured in California are eligible for coverage but haven’t enrolled.
Undocumented Californians are the only category that lack access to affordable medical insurance. Recent laws expanded coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status who are age 0-25 and ages 50 years and older. According to Governor Newsom’s office, approximately 700,000 undocumented Californians are in the 26-49 year age group and lack access to medical insurance. This means that about 2% of the 39 million Californians can’t get coverage while 98% of the population are currently covered or can enroll.
SB770 would change coverage for 98% of the population to accommodate the 2% who currently lack coverage. We feel that there are better, less expensive and more practical ways to provide universal coverage. Accordingly, CAHIP (California Association of Health Insurance Professionals), on whose behalf I was lobbying, oppose SB 770.
If you are looking for assistance with group medical insurance for your company, give us a call at (800)746-0045.