Home | Reform & Coverage | Single Payer

Single Payer

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 35+ 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.

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–in addition to the vision of a universal, single-payer system. 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.

In 2020, the Healthy California for All Commission (HCFA) was formed following guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Atkins. The HCFA commission is a group of appointed health experts in business, philanthropy, academia and labor, which included our Executive Director Anthony Wright, who met to develop a plan that includes options for advancing progress toward achieving a health care delivery system in California that provides coverage and access through a unified financing system, including, but not limited to, a single-payer financing system, for all Californians.