In a surprise move made in response to President Donald Trump’s push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, two California lawmakers Friday introduced legislation to replace private medical insurance with a government health care system covering all 38 million Californians — including its undocumented residents.
“We’ve reached this pivotal moment and I thought to myself: ‘Look, now more than ever is the time to talk about universal health care,’” one of Senate Bill 562’s authors, Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, said in an interview Friday.
The Healthy California Act, co-authored by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, was submitted just before the deadline for new legislation. It doesn’t yet offer many specifics other than the lawmakers’ intent: to create a so-called single-payer system that would pay for coverage for everyone.
Proponents argue that single-payer systems make health care more affordable and efficient because they eliminate the need for reams of paperwork, but opponents say they raise taxpayer costs and give government too much power.