Kuehl Says Factors Driving State Toward Single-Payer System
Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles) said the current problems plaguing California's health care system demonstrate the necessity for her proposed state-run, single-payer health insurance system, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Kuehl on Tuesday introduced for the third time legislation (SB 840) that would create such a system. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed the bill in 2006 after it won approval in the Legislature.
Recognizing continued opposition from the governor, Kuehl said, "If I can't convince this governor, I'll work on the next governor." She said her proposal "represents the gold standard for health care reform" and will garner public support as insurance premiums rise and health benefits shrink.
Kuehl cited a report released last week that projected health care spending in the U.S. would double during the next decade, as well as estimates that the share of total health spending paid by federal, state and local governments is expected to increase by half.
However, the Mercury News notes that the health care debate in the Legislature this year will focus on reforming the current employer-based health care system, leaving little consideration on disbanding private insurance.
Regardless of legislative opposition, Kuehl said, "I frankly think that everything is on its way, or could be on its way, to the enactment of" a single-payer, state-run health care system (Zapler, San Jose Mercury News, 2/28).