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SB 562 (Lara): Single Payer – Shelved

Late last week, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that SB 562 (Lara), which would have created a Single-Payer healthcare system in California, would not advance to a policy hearing in the Assembly, essentially ensuring that the measure would not be acted upon this year. Rendon called the bill “woefully incomplete,” noting that even Senators who voted for SB 562 noted fatal flaws in the bill. The bill failed to address several critical issues including financing, delivery of care, cost controls, and necessary action by the federal government to make SB 562 a reality. The program carried an estimated price tag of $330 to $400 million requiring new taxes to fund it; however, no sources of tax revenue were specified within the measure.

The authors of the bill, Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) expressed their disappointment, but were hopeful that the bill still has life as a two-year bill that can potentially be brought up next year, the second year of the two year legislative cycle. The California Nurses Association, a strong proponent of the bill, has conveyed their intense disappointment with the setback through rallying at the Capitol this week.