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GOP gubernatorial hopeful Tom Campbell released a unique health care proposal Thursday that would redistribute $42 billion in federal and state funds already spent on health care in California to buy private health coverage for everyone in the state who's "involuntarily" uninsured.

Under the former congressman's plan, the funds would cover an estimated 2 million such people in addition to the 7.6 million already receiving public health coverage under the state Medi-Cal and Healthy Families programs.

"The astounding conclusion," Campbell writes in his proposal, "is that, using only the money already being spent by the federal and state governments for health care in California, we could buy free market health insurance currently available and cover all involuntarily uninsured in California, and still have more than $700 per person left over!"

Campbell suggested the state launch its own plan "in the event that the federal effort does not produce meaningful reform."

His plan would let private insurers bid against each other for a fixed pot of money to cover everyone in a "relevant geographic region" who earned below a certain amount or who had been denied coverage by two private insurers because of a pre-existing medical condition.

To implement the plan, however, the state would have to win a federal waiver allowing it to use federal funds in such a way, and the federal government would have to repeal the antitrust exemption for insurance companies and also pass laws allowing the interstate sale of insurance plans.

And if no insurer bids in a region, the status quo continues.



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