Democrats resurrect single-payer health care bill

With federal health care reform on life support, California Democrats this morning quietly moved to  resurrect a state-based single-payer health insurance system with an estimated $200 billion annual price tag.


The Senate Appropriations Committee voted without comment along party lines, 6-3, to lift from suspense — the dead file — Senate Bill 810 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

The bill is almost identical to former Sen. Sheila Kuehl’s 2008 single-payer bill that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed.

Voting in favor of moving the bill forward this morning were Democratic sens. Christine Kehoe of San Diego, Ellen Corbett of San Leandro, Leno, Carol Liu of Pasadena, Curren Price of Los Angeles and Leland Yee of San Francisco.

In opposition were GOP sens. Dave Cox of Fair Oaks, Jeff Denham of Merced and Mimi Walters of Tustin.

The legislation would create a state insurance program for Californians at an estimated cost of $200 billion a year.  Leno’s bill does not spell out how the financially strapped state would pay for the program; that would be left up to an appointed panel to determine. Kuehl’s bill would have imposed a variety of payroll and other taxes on the wealthy to fund the program.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen