CSAC Bulletin Article

Assembly Committee Discusses Universal Health Care

January 18. 2018

The Assembly committee tasked with exploring the concept of universal health care in California met again yesterday to add five more hours of information and testimony on the possibility of universal health care in California.

The third hearing and fourth meeting of the Assembly Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage focused on the fragmentation of the current health care system and the costs that ensue from that fragmentation. Speakers covered topics such as the physician, specialist, and psychiatrist shortage, the costs of people “churning” onto and off of public and private systems, pricing within hospitals and health systems, and administrative costs.

The hearing room was packed with members of the California Nurses Association (CNA), which continues to push for single-payer universal health care in California under SB 562 (Lara and Atkins). The bill was held last summer by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon due to the lack of any fiscal plan for universal health care, but he formed the select committee to examine the issue in more detail – and hopefully to mollify the nurses. Judging by the crowd at yesterday’s hearing, CNA is refusing to go quietly and continues to agitate for a state-run singular health care system.

Select Committee co-chairs Jim Wood and Joaquin Arambula worked to keep the hearing civil, but applause or chanting from the nurses interrupted the hearing several times. To see the speakers and materials from the hearing, click here to visit the committee’s webpage.

The committee is expected to convene additional hearings and issue a series of recommendations on the topic this spring.

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