California legislation would create single-payer health care system

By Emily Green
San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 17, 2017

President Donald Trump caused a stir when he suggested Sunday that the Republican quest to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could continue through 2018. However, some Republicans think he's on to something. Some think it's more realistic to think that way. The current plan is a multi-step path, requiring the GOP to use the budget reconciliation process to partly repeal Obamacare by a majority vote.

A push for a single-payer health care system in California is making a comeback.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens (Los Angeles County) plans to introduce legislation Friday to create a single system that would provide health insurance to every California resident.

“This is our opportunity to put ourselves on the record and be proactive against a Trump administration that is hellbent on eliminating the Affordable Care Act,” Lara said.

The two-page bill contains no specifics. Friday was the deadline for introducing new legislation, and the bill will be fleshed out over the coming month, Lara said. It will first head to the senate Health Committee and then to the senate Appropriations Committee, which Lara chairs.

Previous efforts to create a single-payer system have failed. At least eight bills were introduced between 1992 and 2009 that attempted to create one. They failed to get through the Legislature or were vetoed by Republican governors.

Efforts to create a single-payer system in California ended after the passage of the Affordable Care Act under President Obama.

RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of registered nurses, said the union would mount a “major mobilization” to try to enact a single-payer system in California.

She said she believed it had a better chance than in years past because of President Trump’s efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, a more active political base, and a new crop of state legislators who are younger and more open-minded.

“It is one of the most salient issues of our time,” she said.

See also:

California Healthline: Single-Payer Health Care Bill To Be Introduced In California Senate

The Mercury News (Sacramento, Calif.): California lawmakers to introduce universal health care plan today