Legislators Push for Health Coverage Expansions
A number of bills that would create some sort of state health insurance program likely will not be signed into law this year, but legislators "are closer than ever" to establishing such programs, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports.
Bills to expand health insurance coverage include:
SB 840 by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Los Angeles), which would create a single-payer health plan, administered by the state and run by an elected insurance commissioner;
SB 1784, a companion bill also by Kuehl, which would increase state income taxes on residents earning more than $200,000 and self-employed residents earning $7,000 to $200,000 annually to fund universal health care;
AB 1952 by Assembly member Joe Nation (D-San Rafael), which would require all residents to have health insurance and require employers to provide insurance or pay into a state fund to help provide health insurance benefits. The bill, which stalled earlier this year, also would create a state-run purchasing pool for residents to buy low-cost insurance;
SB 1414 by Sen. Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), which would require for-profit employers with more than 10,000 workers to spend at least 8% of their payroll costs on health care for employees; and
- SB 437 by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk), which would expand a number of existing programs to provide health benefits to more children. Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland), a co-sponsor of the bill, said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) will need to show his support for such efforts for the bill to pass (Roberts, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 6/23).