On January 26th, a bill to create a “Medicare-for-all” single payer health care system in the state of California fell short of passage, getting 19 of the 21 votes needed. This bill would have made California the second state to more towards a single payer system after Vermont’s passage of a similar bill last year.
Democratic lawmakers in the state cited rising health care costs for consumers and business as a reason to support a Medicare-like system for all residents. Although the recently passed national health care reform is scheduled to implement universal health care in 2014, states have the freedom under this law to implement their own systems that meet minimum standards of coverage and affordability.
This is not California legislature’s first attempt at instituting single-payer health care. Similar bills were passed by both houses in 2007 and 2009, but both were ultimately vetoed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another bill was passed by the senate last year.