SAN FRANCISCO — Health care experts say the prognosis is not good for California creating a single-payer health care system this year, even as fears grow over the impact of Republican federal lawmakers’ plans to gut the Affordable Care Act, the Bay Area Reporter reports.
Gay state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and lesbian state Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) last month introduced their Californians for a Healthy California Act (Senate Bill 562), which is backed by the California Nurses Association, to jumpstart the process of creating a universal health care system that would cover all 39 million Californians, including the estimated 3 million undocumented immigrants living in the state.
They have yet to release a more detailed plan for how the state would achieve that goal but have pledged to do so in the “weeks ahead,” the Reporter article notes.
“Access to affordable and quality health care is not only critical, it should be a right for everyone in California,” Atkins said, according to the Bay Area Reporter. “In light of threats to the Affordable Care Act, it’s important that we look at all options to maintain and expand access to health care. The Healthy California Act is an essential part of that conversation.”
Past attempts to do so have failed in California, such as when voters rejected a statewide ballot initiative in 1994. And out former lawmakers have seen opposition from insurance companies and other special interests sink their past legislation.
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger twice vetoed bills carried by lesbian former state Senator Sheila Kuehl, now a Los Angeles county supervisor. And gay former state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) saw his 2012 bill to establish a single-payer health care system pass out of the Senate only to die in the Assembly, the Reporter notes.