In summary

Proponents of single payer healthcare in California are strategizing about what do next after the speaker of the Assembly shelved the bill, saying it lacked critical details such as how it would be funded.

Proponents of single payer healthcare in California are strategizing about what do next after the speaker of the Assembly shelved the bill, saying it lacked critical details such as how it would be funded.

“It didn’t make any sense,” said Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat from Paramount. “I hope the Senate takes this chance to take the bill more seriously than they did before.”

The single-payer effort had garnered a lot of attention. Supporters hailed it as an aggressive way for California to get proactive about health care before the federal government could repeal the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, and replace it with a less generous Trumpcare alternative. Today the GOP-dominated U.S. Senate announced it was delaying a vote on its version until after the July 4th holiday next week.

“It was downright silly for the California Senate to approve SB 562 without an explanation of how its estimated $400 billion annual price tag—triple the state’s general-fund budget—would be covered in a way that wouldn’t hammer taxpayers and the state economy,” the San Diego Union-Tribun” wrote in an editorial.

California senators had approved the single payer bill after assurances by its Democratic authors, Los Angeles Sen. Ricardo Lara and San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins, that they would come back to them with a funding plan. That wasn’t enough for Rendon, who called the bill more of a “values” move than real public policy.

Lara and Atkins have promised to unite with supporters, including the politically potent California Nurses Association, and “do whatever it takes to stop this assault on the American people.”

“We are disappointed that the robust debate about healthcare for all that started in the California Senate will not continue in the Assembly this year. This issue is not going away, and millions of Californians are counting on their elected leaders to protect the health of their families and communities,” they said in a joint statement.

Their bill would have pooled health care money, including Medicare and Medicaid dollars, into a state fund to cover health care for all Californians. It was intended to take the place of co-pays, deductible, and premiums.

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...