The California Assembly has voted 43-30 to approve an effort to create a universal health care system.
The California Senate voted 25-15 in May to approve another version of the single-payer health coverage bill, S.B. 840, but it now must vote on whether it will accept the amended Assembly version.
If the Senate acts quickly, the Assembly version of the bill could land on the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Sept. 1, according to Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, Calif., the bill’s sponsor.
Schwarzenegger has not taken a public stand on S.B. 840, but he expressed his opposition to the idea of a state-run health insurance system in July, during an appearance in San Francisco.
“I think it is important for us to get involved, but I don’t believe in universal health care,” Schwarzenegger said.
Kuehl argues that S.B. 840 can fix California’s broken health care system.
“The growing cost of health insurance is bankrupting our businesses and working families,” Kuehl says. “Our health care system is being decimated to pay for insurance company waste.”
If signed and implemented as written, S.B. 840 would create the California Health Insurance System, a “single-payer” system administered by a new agency, the California Health Insurance Agency. The system would provide medical, dental, vision, hospital and drug coverage for all California residents.