Singles and doubles…

California’s single-payer universal health care legislation, SB810, will be a two-year bill, and will be parked at the Senate Appropriations Committee for the remainder of this year. The bill will be picked up again next year in 2010, the second year of the 2009-10 two-year legislative session. Senator Mark Leno issued a statement today on the subject:

Today, in response to California’s ongoing and unprecedented budget crisis, the Senate Appropriations Committee was forced to hold a large majority of the bills on its suspense calendar. SB 810, our bill to establish single payer universal health care in California, was not an exception.

Faced with the loss of 25% of our General Fund revenues, the legislature must direct its undivided attention toward avoiding the gruesome cuts proposed by the Governor, which would fundamentally dismantle our most basic health, social, and educational infrastructures.

Let me be clear in saying that SB 810 is alive and well in the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the next opportunity to move the bill will be in January, 2010. This does not represent a change to our overall strategy for SB 810 to be a 2-year bill, nor does it affect or prevent us from doing the important work we already are doing to advocate and educate the public about the importance of single payer in our communities and in the legislature.

Even if SB810 advanced this year, Governor Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto it again, as he has two times before. In addition, the financing for the proposal would need a two-thirds vote of the legislature. So rather than rush the bill to the Governor for a near-certain veto, it makes sense to hold the bill, and continue to organize and educate around the benefits and provisions of a single-payer health system, and to use the bill to positively influence the broader debate on health reform in the state and nationally. We’ll keep you posted…

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

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