California Senator Sheila Kuehl reintroduces single-payer health system legislation

California state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D) on Tuesday for the third time introduced legislation (SB 840) that would eliminate health insurers and create a state-run, single-payer health insurance system, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The system would be funded by payroll and income taxes.

A 2004 study by the Lewin Group found that a single-payer system in California would expand insurance coverage to 6.5 million uninsured residents and reduce the state's health care spending by about $8 billion.

The bill does not include mandates for the taxes to fund the single-payer system. According to the Lewin report, the system would require $95 billion in tax revenue.

If the tax provisions were included, a two-thirds majority would be required for passage and votes from Republican lawmakers would be needed, which is unlikely this year, according to the Times.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed the bill in 2006 after it was approved by the state Legislature, saying a single-payer system would be "a serious and expensive mistake" that would not solve "the critical issue of affordability."

The Times reports that Schwarzenegger remains opposed to the legislation (Rau, Los Angeles Times, 2/27).

Kaisernetwork.orgThis article is republished with kind permission from our friends at the The Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery of in-depth coverage of health policy developments, debates and discussions. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Copyright 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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