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California Senate OKs Single-Payer Health Care Bill

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Members of the California Senate today voted 23-14 to approve Senate Bill 562, a bill that would create a true single-payer health care system in California.

The California Association of Health Plans says implementing the bill could cost about $400 billion, or about $10,000 per state resident, per year.

The California Assembly will now consider the bill.

(Related: Health Agents Fight Single-Payer Storm With Tornado)

The bill calls for California to use the federal health care funding already flowing into the state to cover part of the cost of running the program, and to start discussions about creating other funding mechanisms.

Bill supporters say putting the government in charge of paying for all health care, and all long-term care, could cut system costs by wiping out huge amounts of administrative spending.

The health plan association is blasting the idea of the state considering a single-payer health care bill without a funding plan.

Charles Bacchi, president of the health plan association, says in a statement that the bill would cause dangerous disruptions in health care coverage.

“The tax increases required to fund this program are massive, and there is no assurance the federal government would approve the waivers necessary to enact this bill,” Bacchi says.

Colorado voters rejected a ballot measure calling for the start of a pure government-run health care system there in November; about 80% of voters opposed the plan.

New York state lawmakers are considering a similar bill, Assembly Bill 4738, now. The New York state bill has already passed in the Assembly, but it may have trouble advancing in the state Senate, where Republicans have a majority.

— Read California Agents Fight Single-Payer Health Bill on ThinkAdvisor.