California’s Single-Payer Scheme Among Several State Health Proposals
As efforts to overhaul the U.S. health care system remain stalled, state lawmakers in California and elsewhere are moving forward on their own proposals to expand health insurance coverage to more residents, the Wall Street Journal reports.
For example, California's Senate recently passed a bill (SB 810) designed to lay the foundation for a state-run, single-payer health care system.
California is among 11 states that have proposed legislation aimed at boosting health care access, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
However, experts say strained state budgets and partisan tensions are likely to prevent many of these proposals from gaining ground (Mathews, Wall Street Journal, 2/2).
California Proposal Aims To Set Stage for Debate
Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), author of SB 810, said the measure could help spark debate on California's health care system, regardless of whether lawmakers ultimately pass the bill.
Observers say the Assembly Health Committee is unlikely to consider SB 810 until June at the earliest. In addition, the incoming Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) might decide not to bring the issue up for vote.
Even if the Assembly approves SB 810, it likely will not advance much further. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) previously rejected two similar single-payer proposals and has pledged to veto the latest measure if it reaches his desk.
Regardless, Leno said SB 810 could succeed by educating voters about the merits of a single-payer health care system. He said the issue could come before voters as a ballot initiative in two or four years (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 1/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.