Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Universal Health Care for Californians?

Both the California state Assembly and Senate have passed SB840, a bill (I've written about before) that would create a system of universal health insurance for all Californians.
[The bill] would provide every California resident with health insurance through a system controlled by a newly created entity called the California Health Insurance Agency.

The agency would be under the control of a health insurance commissioner appointed by the governor.


Under Kuehl's bill, the state's health care overhaul would be partially financed by converting existing governmental programs to the new system, while the rest would come from consumers and their employers in place of private insurance.

All told, the state would save nearly $8 billion in the first year, according to an analysis by the independent Lewin Group that was commissioned by the bill's supporters.

The report found that consolidating the health care system into a single plan would significantly reduce administrative costs, a finding the bill's proponents seized upon when arguing in its favor.
SF Gate
For more information on the bill, see the Senate Democratic Caucus page on SB840 and the official legislative page on it. There's even a fact sheet (PDF) that provides more details on what the bill will do, if made into law.

While Governor Schwarzenegger has "declined to take a position on the bill," it appears that he is unlikely to sign it:
During an appearance in July at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club, Schwarzenegger said, "I don't believe in universal health care.

"I don't believe that government should be getting in there and should start running a health care system that is kind of done and worked on by government," he said.
Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to afford to go to the doctor without having to be employed by the right employer? Or old? Or really poor? Or really rich? I suspect the more than 6 million uninsured Californians would think so.

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