Senator Leno’s Single-Payer Health Care Bill Clears Senate Appropriations


SACRAMENTO – The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved the California Universal Health Care Act, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). Senate Bill 810 guarantees all Californians comprehensive, universal health care while reducing the state’s ballooning health care costs and improving the quality of care and delivery of health services statewide. The legislation passed with a 6-2 vote.

California currently spends about $200 billion annually on a fragmented, inefficient health care system that wastes 30% of every dollar on administration. Under Senate Bill 810, that wasteful spending is eliminated. The bill redirects the funds Californians already spend on health care to allow comprehensive coverage. In fact, studies show that the state would save $8 billion in the first year under this single-payer plan.

“California is being overrun by out-of-control health care costs, which have a significant impact on families, businesses and the state budget,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Health care premiums in the last few years have grown five times faster than our economy. Consequently, fewer employers are providing health benefits to their employees, and those workers who are fortunate enough to receive coverage are paying higher premiums for diminishing services. By guaranteeing universal access for all Californians, our single-payer plan will reduce the health care burdens that are hurting families and our state’s economy.”

SB 810 creates a private-public partnership to provide every California resident medical, dental, vision, hospitalization and prescription drug benefits and allows patients to choose their own doctors and hospitals. This single payer, “Medicare for All,” type of program works by pooling together the money that government, employers and individuals already spend on health care and putting it to better use by cutting out the for-profit middle man.

“SB 810 is the only proposed solution to the continuing patient care crisis that guarantees healthcare for all Californians and controls costs while eliminating the denials of care and restrictions of provider choice imposed by private insurance companies,” said DeAnn McEwen, a registered nurse at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and co-president of the California Nurses Association. CNA is one of the co-sponsors of SB 810.

“Health is a right, not a privilege,” said Maria Lemus, executive director of Vision y Compromiso, a co-sponsor of SB 810. “All Californians, without exception, need access to quality medical services. Senator Leno’s single-payer proposal would provide California residents access to health services with an opportunity to prevent illness, the right to choose their doctor and control inflation without increasing health care costs in California.”

SB 810 is sponsored and supported by a broad coalition of patients, nurses, doctors, teachers and school employees, small businesses, faith community members, retirees, local governments and school districts. These groups represent more than 2 million Californians. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Nurses Association, Health Care for All California, California One Care, California School Employees Association, Physicians for a National Health Program-California, Single Payer Now, Campaign for a Healthy California, California Federation of Teachers, California Alliance of Retired Americans, Amnesty International, League of Women Voters, California Council of Churches, Progressive Democrats of America, California Consumer Federation, National Organization for Women-California, Vision y Compromiso, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, Dolores Huerta Foundation, California Health Professional Student Alliance and Courage Campaign.


  1. Laurie Winestock on January 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Is this really going to happen!!! Fantastic!!! what about the governor? Does he have to pass this – I imagine yes, and if so, how can we get an online petition going to make him do it!!! this is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT HAS HAPPENED IN CA IN DECADES!!!

  2. Maggie Drake on January 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I have a preexisting condition and have been paying $1500+/month. I received a letter from Anthem today stating that they are raising my premiums 17% to $1800+/month. The insurance CEOs make between $1 and $5 million dollars a year; I make $25,000. The insurance companies are sucking the life out of us.