Single-Payer Plan Clears State Senate; Governor Expected To Veto Bill
On Thursday, the California Senate approved a bill designed to lay the foundation for a state-run, single-payer health care system in California, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Senate voted 22-14 nearly along party lines, with one Democrat joining Republicans in opposition of the measure.
The bill now moves to the Assembly.
Single-Payer Plan Details
SB 810, by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would replace California's private insurers with a state-run health care agency.
All California residents would be eligible for health coverage under the system, and residents could purchase private plans to cover services not offered through the state program.
Officials estimate that Leno's proposal would cost about $200 billion annually. Funding for the plan likely would come from a combination of federal and state health care funds, along with a possible payroll tax (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/29). In addition, Leno said the system would generate additional savings by reducing administrative costs.
Leno's bill would create a commission to recommend a financing plan for the health care system. The plan would go before voters for approval before it could take effect.
Although SB 810 is moving forward in the Legislature, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has pledged to veto it if it is sent to his desk. The governor has rejected two similar single-payer proposals in the past (Thompson, AP/Los Angeles Times, 1/28).
Lawmakers also would need to work out numerous details before the state could implement a government-run health care system.Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said, "Let us stipulate that single-payer is a long way off" (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 1/28). 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.