Single Payer

Quality, Affordable Health Care for ALL Californians

Since its founding, Health Access has been a strong supporter of a universal health care system that provides quality, affordable health care to all Californians–a Medicare for all system, also known as single-payer health reform.

In our 27+ year history, Health Access has actively supported single-payer legislation, including bills by Senator Kuehl (SB971, SB810) and Leno (SB840) in the past decade, and  Proposition 186 (in 1994) and bills authored by Senator Petris a generation ago.

Read Health Access Support letter on SB 562

 When we fight for single-payer we are fighting for:

  • a universal system, that offers coverage and care to everybody, rather than leaving millions uninsured, and so many more millions at risk of becoming uninsured;
  • a progressively financed system, where what we pay for health care is based on what we can afford, rather than how sick we are, and where the tax structure is also progressive, capturing unearned income;
  • a cost-effective system, which pools patients together and leverages their purchasing power to negotiate the best prices from providers;
  • a comprehensive system, where people can count on a basic standard of benefits, rather than wonder if their coverage will actually cover them when they need it;
  • an efficient system, which streamlines the bureaucracy associated with the marketing, administration, and profit-taking of multiple private insurance companies; and
  • a prevention-oriented system, which has the right incentives in place to invest in wellness and that moves away from false incentives for insurers to avoid risk.

Health Access has strongly supported multiple approaches to reform, from employer requirements to public program expansions, from Healthy San Francisco to the Affordable Care Act–but we still support single-payer as a goal. California’s implementation of the ACA has brought us significantly closer to some of the goals listed above, but there’s more work to do, and single-payer proposals provide an important vision and benchmark for continued efforts.

The Health Care Options Project (HCOP) and Single Payer

The HCOP of 2002 included Single-Payer as one of nine proposals developed under legislation passed in 1999. The Single Payer Option, developed by James G. Kahn and others, University of California at San Francisco. This reform proposal would have replaced (then) current health financing arrangements with a single, publicly financed health insurance program to cover all Californians. Savings from reduced administrative costs and other cost-savings features would help finance the extension of coverage to previously uninsured people.