California lawmakers trying again for single-payer

California lawmakers have introduced legislation again that would provide "comprehensive universal single-payer" health coverage for all 39 million residents of the state under a program called CalCare.

Filed in February, the bill "would provide that CalCare cover a wide range of medical benefits and other services and would incorporate the healthcare benefits and standards of other existing federal and state provisions, including the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medi-Cal, ancillary healthcare or social services covered by regional centers for persons with developmental disabilities, Knox-Keene, and the federal Medicare program."

On April 23, Politico reported that "more single-payer-friendly leaders" are now in the state's legislature, which began its first committee hearings on the new legislation the same day.

California Democrats have previously made attempts to enact a single-payer system in the state — a 2022 analysis from the state found CalCare could cost between $494 billion and $552 billion annually.

Several single-payer bills have been introduced in California since 2003, most of which failed to pass the legislature. One bill, Senate Bill 840, was approved by lawmakers in 2006 and 2008 but was vetoed by then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger both times. 

In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 770, which directs the state's HHS to outline requirements for a federal wage application focused on universal healthcare coverage in partnership with the federal government. 

Other states such as Oregon and New York have also recently debated single-payer policies, but no state has enacted a universal system. In 2023, Sen. Bernie Sanders reintroduced the Medicare for All Act with record support in Congress.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Top 40 articles from the past 6 months