Single Payer Goes Quietly Into That Last Night

All night long, Assembly watchers waited and wondered: When would the bill be presented to vote on establishing a single payer health system?

The answer was: Not this night. Not in this legislative session.

Political insiders sat around and wondered why Assembly speaker John Perez decided not to present a vote on SB 810 by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), which had been passed in the legislature twice before, and vetoed twice before by Governor Schwarzenegger.

“We just couldn’t get to it,” Perez press representative John Vigna said. “It was certainly high-profile, but the other bills were just taking way too long. We had a lot of timing issues.”

As a controversial item, the single payer bill would probably have taken a long time to debate, and time just ran out for SB 810, Vigna said.

“It’s one of the strangest universes you’ll ever be in, the end of legislative session,” he said. “Unfortunately, things don’t always go as smoothly as you’d like. It was just a question of timing.”

After two vetoes, even advocates for the bill expected the governor to veto it. During this session, SB 810 was approved by the Senate, then made a successful trip through all Assembly committees, and was on the docket for the final day of the legislative session.

Leno has said he plans to re-introduce the same legislation in the next session.

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