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Morning Brief: Health Insurance Lobbyists, A Medical Imposter, And The Super Bowl Experience

An illustration of three candy jars. The first jar on the left is locked shut and reads "HMO" the jar in the middle has the lid cracked and reads "PPO" and the last jar is a candy machine that requires a coin to be inserted to release a piece of candy.
(Subin Yang for NPR)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Feb. 7.

Last week, California progressives were dealt a blow when a proposed single-payer health insurance bill was pulled before the state Senate even had a chance to vote on it. At the time, Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), who authored the bill, said that it didn’t have enough votes to pass.

Now, Assemblyman Alex Lee (D-San Jose) has said that he believes the votes weren’t there in part because the legislature was overly influenced by the health insurance lobby. 

“[This bill is] the most serious and most recent effort to get universal health care,” said Lee. “It’s demonstrated by the sheer amount of counter-lobbying by the medical industry that’s happened. They did not spend this amount of money, lobbying power and political capital against previous efforts before because everyone understood this was … the real deal.”

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The bill would have moved all Californians into a state-run program to cover their health insurance costs, which would be paid for by imposing new taxes. Residents with health insurance, whether public or private, would be switched to the new program — meaning that private health insurance companies, which generate a great deal of profit, would be sidelined.

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"A lot of the for-profit entities have a lot to lose … if we move to a system that prioritizes health care for patients instead of the ridiculous costs,” said Lee. “There's real industries that will stand to lose on their profit, and that's why they've been spending so much” to defeat a single-payer system.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • An “imposter posing as a medical professional” recently gained access to Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, took COVID-19 "'swabs'" from youths there, and collected their names and social security numbers.
  • The chair of the California State University Board of Trustees is echoing calls for the board to conduct an independent investigation into Chancellor Joseph Castro.
  • Olympic athletes who test positive for COVID-19 and forced to isolate in Beijing are reporting serious issues with their quarantine conditions.

Before You Go ... You Don't Need Game Tickets To Enjoy LA's Super Bowl

SB Experience
Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals helmets sit opposite at the NFL Super Bowl Experience at the Los Angeles Convention Center on February 4, 2022.
(Matt Dangelantonio (KPCC/LAist)
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Matt Dangelantonio (KPCC/LAist))

Leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 13, the NFL has set up the Super Bowl Experience at the L.A. Convention Center. We were curious whether it was worth visiting, so we checked it out.Turns out that from player jerseys and rings to kicking field goals to the original Left Shark, there’s something there for every fan.

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