The high cost of paying for Canadian-style health care for all Californians has for more than two decades killed proposals to adopt such a system. But a new report released Wednesday suggested that overall health care spending in the state would fall 18 percent under the current single-payer proposal by Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). Total cost for the system would be $331 billion a year to run a universal coverage system where the state pays for medical services and procedures, down from more than $404 billion under today’s system. The study was paid by the California Nurses Association. The report proposes a complete overhaul of the state’s health care system. People would no longer have to purchase insurance through Kaiser or Anthem Blue Cross, instead health care payments would be reorganized under a single state-run system funded, in part, by new taxes on consumer purchases like new cars and dining out at restaurants, and business revenue.
CA Senate passes bill that overhauls LA Metro
Los Angeles Times
The State Senate passed a bill Wednesday that expands and reshapes LA County Metro. Opponents of the bill include Mayor Eric Garcetti, the city and county of Los Angeles, and the LA Area Chamber of Commerce. The measure would expand the Metro Board from 12 to 15 members. It reduces the number of County Supervisors on the Board from five to two, remove the appointment of two public members and increase LA City Council member appointments by the mayor from two to five.
San Gabriel Valley homeless count up 36 percent, big jump in homeless veterans
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
The number of homeless people in the San Gabriel Valley rose 36 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to a count conducted by the LA Homeless Services Authority in January. The number of homeless counted by volunteers from Jan. 24-26 in the region was 3,552. Of those people counted in January, 1,179 were found living in shelters or temporary living arrangements and 2,373 were found on the street. A total of 213 of the homeless were military veterans, a 50 percent increase from 2016.
Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors approved a study of a potential parcel tax to fund stormwater projects. A parcel tax, if approved by voters sometime next year, would fund projects to capture more rain and percolate it underground so it can augment drinking water supplies. The parcel tax would be applied to homes and businesses with the study to determine how much each property owner would be responsible to pay. County staff are to report back in February with the results of their study.
Governor Jerry Brown has expressed strong support for the Delta tunnels project to ensure a steady supply of fresh water to southern California in the event of a major natural disaster in the Bay Area or Central Valley. His staff recently summoned the major water agencies whose rate payers are most likely to pay for the project and told them to “fish or cut bait.” With a major decision by the federal wildlife agencies due, this will signal the end of the planning process that began under Gov. Schwarzenegger. Local Delta residents are adamant in their opposition to the tunnels project, complicating the process of moving the project forward.
President Trump has decided to withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Accord Treaty. While this agreement was never ratified by the Senate and has no enforcement mechanism, the withdrawal leaves the U.S. virtually alone among major countries not to agree participate in the agreement. It’s not certain that the Trump Administration will choose to entirely not participate in the climate treaty but it indicates a far more skeptical approach to climate change agreements and regulation, especially in international law, which the Trump Administration fears costs Americans good jobs.