Thursday, February 4, 2010

Silence of single-payer option falls on deaf ears in California

Single payer.

Amid all the recent health reform chatter, those are words we haven’t heard much lately. At this point in the reform journey, most people have gotten an earful about the pros and cons of a single-payer system. They’ve heard and accepted the message that it’s not an option.

But, you know, some people have selective hearing. That appears to be the case for some California state senators. On January 28, 2010, the California Senate, by a vote of 22-14, passed a bill (SB 810) that would create a single-payer health insurance system in California.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), The California Universal Health Care Act “creates a private-public partnership to provide every California resident medical, dental, vision, hospitalization and prescription drug benefits and allows patients to choose their own doctors and hospitals. This ‘Medicare for All’ type of program works by pooling together the money that government, employers and individuals already spend on health care and putting it to better use by cutting out the for-profit middle man.”

Senator Leno says that the bill “creates no new spending, and in fact, studies show that the state would save $8 billion in the first year under this single-payer health care plan.”

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has indicated he would veto the bill. In 2008, the governor vetoed a similar bill (SB 840).


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