Supporters Rally for Single-Payer Health System
Supporters of a bill (SB 840) that would create a state-run single-payer health care system in California rallied in front of the Capitol Wednesday, as the legislation heads toward a full Assembly vote, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The measure would establish a system that provides health insurance to all state residents. The system would be funded by an 8% payroll tax on businesses and a 3% personal income tax increase, with such taxes replacing premiums that businesses and individuals currently pay to insurance companies.
State voters or lawmakers would have to approve the system's costs in a separate measure because the bill does not allocate funding for the program.
Advocates say the bill would save consumers and businesses about $8 billion annually because the state would be able to negotiate lower prices with health care providers.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) opposes a single-payer system and said he would unveil his plans to improve access to health care in January if he is re-elected.
Schwarzenegger spokesperson Sabrina Demayo Lockhart said the governor is concerned that legislation to reform the health care system does not address health care affordability (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 8/10).