Single-payer insurance plan moves ahead
January 13, 2012
A Democrat-sponsored effort to initiate single-payer health coverage in California is under the legislative microscope next week in Sacramento hearings.
Coauthored by 29 members of the Senate, the measure, SB 810, by Sen Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), would create the California Healthcare System, to “provide health care to all California residents,” according to the legislation’s wording. It also proposes penalties to residents and businesses choosing not to insure themselves.
Preliminary cost analyses suggest the system would set taxpayers back $200 billion annually, with these costs “offset by an unknown extent of re-direction of revenues from existing health coverage programs,” according to a legislative committee review.
The plan goes before the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday. When the bill passed that body’s Health Committee, Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) voted against it.
Part of the proposal as currently written calls for it to take effect only when the state’s Health and Human Services Agency secretary “determines that adequate funding is available to implement it.”
Leno contends his measure will “enact a modern universal health care system in California… combining public financing and competitive private health care delivery.”
The lawmaker said the current system “is fragmented, administratively complex and clinically wasteful, leading to billions of dollars being diverted annually away from direct medical care and driving unaffordable premium increases.”