California Single Payer Bill Passes First Hurdle
It's feast or famine time for health reform. Vermont, Maryland, Maine among others push the limits to expand coverage while Tennessee, Missouri and others push backwards. Last Thursday, California rejoined the former set when a Senate Committee voted 7 to 4 to approve a single payer tax-financed health reform bill. This same committee approved a similar bill in 2003 which passed the full Senate in scaled down form. Ultimate, both branches passed an employer insurance mandate which was repealed narrowly by voters in November 2004.
Click here to read details from Associated Press. Little trivia -- lead sponsor is State Senator Sheila Kuehl who, in an earlier life, played Zelda Gilroy on the 50s TV show, Dobie Gillis. California has a curious history on health reform, especially when it comes to ballot initiatives. In 1992, the voters rejected an employer mandate; in 1994, they rejected a single payer plan, 73-27%; and in 2004, they again rejected an employer mandate, 51-49%. That's a tough crowd to please out there!