California Democrats pitch plan for taxpayer-funded universal healthcare: 7 things to know

California's state Assembly is considering two bills to establish and fund universal healthcare in the state, according to a Jan. 6 Newsweek report. 

Seven things to know: 

1. The Democratic initiative is built on two partnered bills — AB 1400 and ACA 11. Both would need a two-thirds majority vote in both of California's  legislative houses before being passed by voters into law, according to Newsweek

2. AB 1400, introduced in February 2021, generally establishes what the single-payer universal healthcare system would look like. However, the bill failed to gain momentum after it was introduced because it did not include a funding component. 

3. ACA 11, introduced by Assemblyman Ash Kalra Jan. 6, pitches a tax increase targeting individuals making more than $150,000 annually and businesses for funding. Mr. Kalra said he expects businesses will spend 1.25 percent of their payroll on health coverage — down from the current average of 9 percent, he told Newsweek

4. AB 1400 is slated for a hearing the week of Jan. 10, and has already garnered support from influential leaders. 

5. The California Hospital Association opposes the bill, as does the California Medical Association, according to Newsweek. A coalition representing both groups said the proposals would "take away any choice for anyone who might want to select private coverage or opt out."

6. The deadline to pass AB 1400 by the end of the year would require a state Assembly vote by the end of January, according to Newsweek. A vote on ACA 11 is not expected for several months. 

7. Should the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Senate pass the bills, the baton would then be passed to voters. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 57 percent of Californians supported replacing private insurance with a single-payer system, according to a Jan. 6 news release from Mr. Kalra.

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