(January 27, 2012) A California Chamber of Commerce-opposed bill to create a new, government-run, multibillion-dollar socialized health care system supported by an unspecified “premium structure” fell short of votes needed to pass the state Senate yesterday.
SB 810 (Leno; D-San Francisco), identified as a “job killer” bill, failed passage on a vote of 19-15, with bipartisan opposition.
The premium structure in SB 810 was to be determined by 2014. The bill also prohibits the sale of any private health care insurance.
Federal Law in Motion
In opposing the bill, the CalChamber commented that SB 810 becomes irrelevant as a vehicle to provide universal coverage for California considering the 2009 enactment of the federal law that comprehensively reformed the health care system nationally.
The new federal law creates universal health care throughout the country to be implemented over the next several years. The California Legislature has been, and will continue to be diligently implementing the federal law and should not be derailed by creating a new system.
Furthermore, the CalChamber opposes a government-run system and supports the role of the Legislature and the administration in implementing the federal reforms.
The new bureaucracy proposed by SB 810 was to be funded through premiums set by an appointed commission and paid by all employers. To balance the budget for the program, premiums could be increased, benefits and provider payments reduced, and copayments and deductibles imposed.
Further added tax burdens on individuals and employers would have led to declining General Fund tax revenues and job loss jeopardizing the state’s already-troubled economy without addressing escalating medical costs.
Although SB 810’s goal of providing health coverage for all Californians is laudable, establishing a single-payer statewide bureaucracy is the wrong approach.
The CalChamber fundamentally disagrees with the two major premises of the bill—that government systems are more efficient than private business; and that a single-payer system would be less costly than the current private system.
California voters have twice rejected a government-run health care system—most recently in Proposition 72 in 2004 and previously in 1994.
Focus groups and numerous opinion polls on health care reform have reinforced that California residents do not want a single-payer, government-run system.
Furthermore, Congress rejected the notion of a single-payer system when enacting comprehensive reform. California should not create a new system that would conflict with the recently enacted federal program.
The January 26 vote on SB 810 was:
Ayes: Alquist (D-Santa Clara), Corbett (D-San Leandro), De León (D-Los Angeles), DeSaulnier (D-Concord), Evans (D-Santa Rosa), Hancock (D-Berkeley), Hernandez (D-West Covina), Kehoe (D-San Diego), Leno (D-San Francisco), Lieu (D-Torrance), Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), A. Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Negrete McLeod (D-Chino), Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), Price (D-Los Angeles), Simitian (D-Palo Alto), Steinberg (D-Sacramento), Wolk (D-Davis), Yee (D-San Francisco).
Noes: Anderson (R-El Cajon), Berryhill (R-Modesto), Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), R. Calderon (D-Montebello), Cannella (R-Ceres), Correa (D-Santa Ana), Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Emmerson (R-Hemet), Fuller (R-Bakersfield), Gaines (R-Roseville), Harman (R-Huntington Beach), Huff (R-Diamond Bar), LaMalfa (R-Richvale), Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks), Walters (R-Laguna Niguel).
Absent/abstaining/not voting: Padilla (D-Pacoima), Rubio (D-East Bakersfield), Runner (R-Antelope Valley), Vargas (D-San Diego), Wright (D-Inglewood), Wyland (R-Escondido).
The bill was granted reconsideration.
Staff Contact: Marti Fisher