Sens. Atkins and Lara keep up the fight
by Brian Leubitz
There is content on Calitics about single payer from the early days. Shiela Kuehl was pushing it back then, but the legislation goes back to the 90s.
A grassroots movement for the establishment of a single-payer health care financing system in California (CA) has been building since the 1990s. In 1992, state Senator Nick Petris introduced a single-payer bill in the state legislature. Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi created a plan for universal coverage with a modified single-payer approach that passed the legislature, but was vetoed by Governor Pete Wilson. In 1994, a single-payer ballot initiative, Proposition 186, was defeated in the face of strong opposition by industry stakeholders. The initiative increased public awareness of single payer and was followed up in 1998 by introduction of Senate Bill (SB) 2123, calling for establishment of a universal single-payer system in the state. This bill led to a resolution calling for a study to compare different models of financing universal health care, including single payer. (Healthcare For All)
The history goes on and on. And it is still going today:
California lawmakers are considering an audacious proposal that would substantially remake the state’s health care system by eliminating insurance companies and guaranteeing coverage for everyone.
The idea known as single-payer health care has long been popular on the left. It’s gaining traction with liberals as President Donald Trump struggles with his efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act(AP)
Given Gov. Brown’s previous hesitance and the many outstanding questions surrounding the future of Obamacare, this is a big lift. Ultimately, single payer is the way we have to be going if we are to truly control health care costs. But for a California single payer system to work, it would need a lot of federal money and a lot of federal waivers. Federal waivers that are very unlikely to come under the current administration.
That being said, the bill, co-authored by Sens. Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, is important if for nothing else than getting stories like the AP story above. If we are to move towards a more fair health care system, we need to do whatever we can to move the ball forward, even if it is just the smallest amount. Senators Atkins and Lara are doing just that.