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California bill would establish single-payer health insurance program

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A bill introduced in the California state senate would, if enacted, lead to the creation of a single-payer health insurance program in the state.

S.B. 562, entitled “Californians For A Healthy California Act,” was introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Senator Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego.

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The bill in its current form states that the legislature finds that:

        1. All residents of the state have the “right to health care”;
        2. Californians, as individuals, employers, and taxpayers, have experienced a rise in the cost of health care and health care coverage in recent years, including rising premiums, deductibles, and copays, as well as restricted provider networks and high out-of-network charges;
        3. Businesses also have experienced increases in the costs of health care benefits for their employees, and many employers are shifting a larger share of the cost of coverage to their employees or dropping coverage entirely;
        4. Individuals often find that they are deprived of affordable care and choice because of decisions by health benefit plans guided by the plan’s economic needs rather than consumers’ health care needs; and
        5. To address the “fiscal crisis” facing the health care system and the state, and “to ensure Californians can exercise their right to health care, comprehensive health care coverage needs to be provided.”

The bill then provides:

It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would establish a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program and a health care cost control system for the benefit of all residents of the state.

The bill was introduced on Feb. 17 and referred to the California Senate’s Committee on Rules for assignment. It may be acted upon on or after March 23.


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