Single-Payer Health Care Plan Goes Before Panel in California Legislature
On Wednesday, supporters and critics of legislation to enact a single-payer, government-run health insurance system in California faced off before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, although no vote was taken on the measure, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The bill (SB 840), by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) does not outline a specific funding mechanism for the single-payer system but instead would create a task force to develop a funding strategy.
According to the Bee, Assembly Democrats could decide to hold a vote on the bill and forward it to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who has pledged to veto it. In 2006, the governor vetoed a similar measure by Kuehl.
Assembly member Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), chair of the committee, said he expects that the issue of a single-payer health care system "will ultimately be decided at the ballot in some coming year."
Kuehl has been an advocate of a single-payer health care system throughout her career in the Legislature. She will be barred from seeking re-election this year because of California term limit laws (Rojas, Sacramento Bee, 7/17).
"Not only will single-payer health care break the bank, but under the proposed system, when costs spiral out of control, our access to health care will be controlled by the government," Chris Ohman, president and CEO of the California Association of Health Plans, writes in a Capitol Weekly opinion piece.
"Health care for all is the right goal," Ohman writes, adding, "Government-run health care just doesn't solve a lot of the challenges we face today" (Ohman, Capitol Weekly, 7/17).