California lawmakers putting pressure on governor for single-payer system

California lawmakers are mulling a proposal that would give Gov. Gavin Newsom a deadline for implementing a single payer healthcare system in the state, the San Francisco Chronicle reported March 21. 

Mr. Newsom said he would seek a waiver from the federal government to begin overhauling the state's health system when he took office in 2019, but he has yet to procure one. Previous attempts to implement a single-payer system have stalled in the state's legislature. 

A bill introduced by California Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, would give the state legislature greater oversight of the process of securing a federal waiver. The bill would also require Mr. Newsom's administration to produce a report on the administration's progress toward securing a waiver and its plans for the health system by June 2024. 

The bill would also give the legislature authority to appoint a group to advise the administration's work. 

Mr. Wiener's bill does not explicitly call for a single-payer system, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Instead, it calls for "unified financing," which could still include private insurers, according to a report from a state commission studying the possibility of a single-payer system. 

The report, published in April 2022, did call for distinctions between private and public payers to be removed. 

Read more here. 

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