California Single-Payer Healthcare in the Near Future?

On Wednesday, California Senate Health Committee approved measure SB-562 with a 5-2 vote which would create a government-run universal healthcare system.  Although approved by the committee, there is still much follow-up to be done including figuring out how it will be paid for. Co-author of the bill, Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), has said that a detailed financial study would be completed in May before the bill is heard by the Appropriation Committee which will review the bill and determine what the fiscal impact would be. Lara has said, “We want to make sure it’s sustainable,” assuring that he and co-author Sen. Toni Atkins will not be doing this on a whim.

Senate Bill SB-562, called The Healthy California Act, would provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state. The LA Times reports that the state would cover all medical expenses for every resident regardless of their income or immigration status, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health and nursing home care. Insurers would also be prohibited from offering benefits that cover the same services as the state.

Both Democrats and Republicans have expressed concern, however, about how exactly the program would be paid for. The measure says the program would be funded by “broad-based revenue,” but does not specify where that money would come from.

“How can we go forward with this bill without a fiscal analysis, a detailed financing plan?” asked Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove).

As SB-562 keeps progressing, more details will arise on whether or not this bill pans out and what the financial impacts would be. Stay tuned as PAYDAY remains on top of these developments.

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