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With Federal Health Bill Stalled, California Senate to Vote On Medicare for All

Press Release, 1/21/10

For Immediate Release
January 21, 2010

With prospects for national healthcare reform dimming following Tuesday’s election in Massachusetts, a major bill that would establish universal healthcare, through a Medicare-for-all style reform, has been cleared today for a new vote in the California legislature.

SB 810, The California Universal Healthcare Act, authored by Sen. Mark Leno and sponsored by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, with broad support among many healthcare, community, and labor groups, will be voted on in the State Senate by the end of next week.

The bill would establish a single-payer system in California, modeled on the healthcare systems that exist in virtually all other industrialized nations, which cost far less than the U.S. system and surpass the U.S. in most measures of patient care outcomes.

“Broad federal legislation looks less likely every day now, but the need for comprehensive reform has never been greater,” said CNA/NNU co-president Deborah Burger, RN.

“California has an opportunity to chart a new course for the nation. SB 810  controls healthcare costs for families and restores financial and health security through a more humane system that guarantees health coverage for everyone, and puts patients, their families, and their doctors, not insurance agents, in charge of their health,” said Burger.

Medicare for all type reforms, such as SB 810, create badly needed, good paying jobs, and provide a huge economic stimulus. A CNA/NNU study last year documented that single-payer reform nationally would create 2.6 billion jobs and $317 billion in additional business and public revenues, much of which would accrue to California.

Further, CNA/NNU research last year found that six of California’s largest insurance companies reject more than one-fifth of all claims, an experience many California patients know all too well. “SB 810 would end the reign of denials and other abuses that characterize our insurance-based healthcare system. It’s long overdue, and it now appears that it will be up to the states to take the lead on broad reform,” Burger said.

California is one of more than half a dozen states with similar state legislation this year. Among major supports of SB 810 are the California School Employees Association, One Care, medical students, and many other groups.


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