Single-payer bill advances in state legislature

Legislation that would create a single-payer healthcare system in California passed a key hurdle last week and moved to the Senate floor.

Voting along party lines, the California Senate Appropriations Committee passed the bill (S.B. 810) last Thursday, moving it to the Senate for full consideration. The bill would create a new agency to set premium rates that would be paid by all employers, reported the Sacramento Business Journal.

"California is being overrun by out-of-control healthcare costs, which have a significant impact on families, businesses and the state budget," said the bill's sponsor Sen. Mark Leno (D-Calif.). "By guaranteeing universal access for all Californians, our single-payer plan will reduce the healthcare burdens that are hurting families and our state's economy."

A legislative analysis concluded that the bill could cost the state $200 billion annually, according to EmaxHealth. However, Leno said that cost will decrease since the bill eliminates private insurance companies and allows California to negotiate prices directly with providers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Despite passing the Senate committee, however, some Democratic supporters are unsure the single-payer system will become a reality. Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, for example, said the bill lacks adequate financing to pay for the system, noted the Times.

To learn more:
- read the EmaxHealth article
- see the Sacramento Business Journal article
- check out the Los Angeles Times article