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Single Payer Bill Advances (Again)

Also on Tuesday, the CA Assembly Health Committee passed SB 810 (Leno), the California Universal Health Care Act. SB 810 would set up a single payer system in California, essentially replacing private insurance companies with a single health care pool into which all California residents pay. The system would be administered by the state and rates for health services, prescription drugs and medical supplies would be negotiated to and set by a designated commissioner.

State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) argued that a single payer system would reduce administrative costs, increase shared responsibility, promote choice, allow for actuarially sound reimbursements, streamline benefits, and increase efficiency. Funding for the bill would come from shifting the $200 billion that Californians currently spend on private coverage to the single payer system. SB 810 also calls for bulk purchasing of prescription drugs and medical equipment, estimated to save California $5.2 billion in the first year.

Read the SB 810 fact sheet.

SB 810 is nearly identical to SB 840 (Keuhl), legislation was introduced by Senator Sheila Kuehl in 2006 and again in 2008, and legislation vetoed twice by Governor Schwarzenegger. If it reaches the governor’s desk, SB 810 is expected to be vetoed as well.