Another state considers single-payer health system

Like Vermont, lawmakers in California are now considering legislation that would create a single-payer system, reports the Merced Sun-Star.

The California Universal Healthcare Act, authored by Sen. Mark Leno, a Democrat who represents San Francisco, would create "Medicare for all," Leno said.

About 8 million Californians lack insurance, nearly 20 percent of the population. The number of uninsured has grown by about 2 million since the start of the Great Recession in late 2007.

The bill is similar to the Vermont legislation, which would guarantee coverage for all of the state's residents. The bill was passed by a Senate committee that oversees health issues, but has yet to come to a full vote in the Senate.

Single-payer bills have been approved by the state's Democratic-dominated Legislature in the past, but have been vetoed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. However, current Gov. Jerry Brown is a Democrat and might be more favorably disposed to such legislation.

But the bill has powerful opponents, including the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Association of Health Underwriters. The Chamber has called the measure "socialized medicine" and said it would conflict with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Leno contends that is not the case.

For more information:
- read the Sun-Star article
- read the California Healthline article