California Senate Passes Single-Payer Health Care

by on January 28, 2010 · 7 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Health

by Dan Thompson / San Diego News Network / January 28, 2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Senate approved creating a government-run health care system for the nation’s most populous state on Thursday, ignoring a veto threat from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Supporters said it is time for state legislatures to take up the debate as the Obama Administration’s national health care proposal falters in Congress.  “If it’s not to be done at the national level, let us take the lead,” said state Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego.  The move in California comes after Massachusetts voters changed the calculus in Congress by electing a Republican to the Senate who opposes the pending plan.

Democrats are the majority in both houses of the California Legislature. The 40-member state Senate passed the single-payer plan on a 22-14 vote, sending it to the Assembly. One Democrat voted against the measure.

Schwarzenegger promised to veto the proposal, as he has two similar plans that previously reached his desk. Spokeswoman Rachel Arrezola cited the state’s massive budget cuts and looming $20 billion deficit in arguing the state cannot afford to shift to a single-payer health care system.  “Any elected official who thinks it’s a good idea to strap the state with tens of billions of dollars from a government-run health care system is clearly not in touch with what voters need and deserve,” Arrezola said.

The proposal by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, authorizes $1 million to establish a commission that would decide how to pay for the system. The funding plan would ultimately have to be approved by voters.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

not a redneck in east county January 28, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Schwarzenegger promised to veto the proposal



Shane Finneran January 28, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Kudos to the Democrats in the State Senate for taking a lead role on establishing a single payer system. And I love that quote from Christine Kehoe, too.

Single payer strikes me as the best way to guarantee health care for all, to slow down out of control costs, and to free us from the menace of medical-bill-induced bankruptcy, which afflicts hundreds of thousands of Americans every year (see “Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies” on

Dozens of other nations around the world have demonstrated that single payer works. California can do the same – and, in the process, can lead our nation to a better future.


I Worked for My Health Insurance January 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm

$1 million dollars for a commission just to study how to pay for the system???
And just where does that money come from, when the state is already operating in a deficit????


Shane Finneran January 31, 2010 at 1:12 am

Where does the money come from? One easy solution would be new taxes.

Thanks to Bush’s tax cuts, our country’s wealthy folks are taxed at rock bottom rates (Warren Buffett, for example, has noted that his income tax rate is lower than his receptionist’s). So I don’t see why California couldn’t ask its millionaires and billionaires to kick down a little more to help establish a single payer system.

Over the long run, of course, single payer will save us huge money. Countries that have single payer tend to spend about 10% of their GDP on health care. Here in the US, we spend more than 15% of GDP. Which suggests that we Americans who have “worked for” our health insurance would’ve found ourselves with roughly 5% more money in our pockets if we had a single payer system.


Solar Mike January 31, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I worked hard to make my money from the ground up, and I did it in an honest and responsible way. Now I have a few million dollars in savings and assets. Why should I have to pay for other people. I give to the charities I choose to when I choose to, and I do so generously. I’m tired of California taking from my wallet and giving it to other people. I would be fine with a state-run healthcare system so long as everybody as the option to opt out of it and not have to pay in (but then not receive benefits).


annagrace January 31, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Hi Mike- a lot of us are honest, responsible people, who went to public schools, travel public roads, enjoy life in public parks and are kept “secure” by police (public) close to home and by the military (public) farther from home. So this is to say that nameless taxpayers have enabled me to get an education, get myself from point A to point B, enjoy life at the beach and in the mountains and even here, in a linear park over the freeway, and go to bed feeling like I have a chance to arise the next day to a world that is reasonably secure. I am grateful.

I don’t believe that anyone can work hard enough, responsibly enough and honestly enough to do it all on his or her own. Solar Mike, we stand on the broad shoulders of our fellow citizens. We in our turn need to play it forward, and yes, that means opening our wallets and our minds.

Medicare for everyone.


mr fresh January 31, 2010 at 2:18 pm

aaah, the ol’ libertarian argument. i hear they’re real big on that over in Somalia. what a paradise! no taxes, no government, no worries. here, check it out:


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