Mr. Near-Universe?

We attended a big, colorful rally today sponsored by the California Nurses Association and many others in support of SB840(Kuehl) and creating a universal, single-payer health care system.

For those of us that support universal health care, Senator Kuehl made an important point in her remarks, that the Governor’s proposal is not universal–that simply telling people to buy coverage that may be unaffordable to buy, or to use, may have a universal impact, but won’t provide universal coverage.

So it was misleading, as some media reports did last week, to say that the Governor’s plan is more expansive that the legislative leaders, even if he calls it “universal.” Speaker Nunez and Senate President Pro Tem Perata are simply more forthright about what their proposals do, and don’t do. And their proposals are far less likely to make people get unaffordable coverage, which provides little help to the patient or to the health system.

Citing Speaker Nunez’s press release about his health plan, blogger Randy Bayne asked if being “near-universal” is like being a little bit pregnant. It’s a good joke, although I appreciate that Speaker Nunez is being honest. It doesn’t mean his proposal isn’t worthy of support–it expands coverage and health security and brings us closer to a truly universal system. But it is helpful to be clear.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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