After a long pause, SB840(Kuehl) was heard in Assembly Appropriations Committee today, it’s first committee hearing since late year, where the bill went through much of the legislative process already. Rather than have the bill simply go to the Governor’s desk for a certain veto, Senator Kuehl wanted to keep the bill alive and continue the organizing in support of the bill, and the concept.
Now in the second year of a two-year session, it is continuing down the legislative path. The bill attracted an unusually large number of backers–including Health Access California–for an Appropriations Committee, which is really focused on the financing of bills rather than the policy, and where authors often provide abbreviated testimony or even waive presentations altogether. It was predictable opposed by many the insurer and employer groups.
As expected, the bill was placed on suspense, with a final determination about if it will be released for a floor vote in a few weeks. The bill does not include financing: a companion bill with financing was stalled in the first policy committee last year, and would need to be updated anyway. Rather, the bill puts forward the concept, and would set in motion a process to determine the financing.
The reason for moving the bill is to keep the commitment to health reform alive, to keep SB840 in the policy discussion, and to advance the elements of single-payer–from group purchasing to public program coverage to progressive financing–in the health debate in the state and nation. Let’s keep the mometum…