Health Care

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Learn more about LWV California's and the National League's position and research on this issue.

National Position

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LWVC Healthcare Reform

The LWV California has advocated for a single payer health care system for more than a decade. Currently, we are fighting to save the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and prevent passage of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. Our community education work on the implementation of the ACA in California continues.  

We recognize the ACA is not perfect and we are continuing to push for reform and support in concept the passage of SB 562, the Healthy California Act

About the League's Health Care Views

About Healthcare and Reforms

The Healthcare Movie

  • Sample flyer for the Healthcare Movie - the LWVC owns several copies of the movie which local Leagues in California can borrow to show in their communities. Contact the LWVC office to make arrangements.

Fact Sheets, Talking Points, and Communications Tips

How You Can Help

We will continue to education Californians and gather support for this crucial reform as the fight continues!

LWVC History on Healthcare Reform

With our national health care position as the basis, for more than a decade the LWVC has supported the movement in California to pass single payer health care. Beginning with single payer bill SB 2123 in 1998, the LWVC has consistently supported studies and legislation to pass single payer health care.

We are currently working to ensure that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act provides the best possible care for the most people. At the same time, we recognize that this is only a stopgap measure.  We will continue to advocate to ensure that everyone in California has access to quality healthcare.

Doris Nelson presented a history of the League's healthcare reform to a group of visitors in 2007.

Past Tools for Advocacy and Education

The State Strategy Group

The LWVC is a member of The State Strategy Group, a growing coalition that works to pass single payer health insurance in California. SSG members support and work on Health Care for All-California’s California OneCare campaign to build a grassroots movement to pass and sustain a single payer health insurance system.

For more than two years, the League has worked in coalition with SSG members in towns and cities throughout California to educate residents and legislators and to seek support for single payer health insurance. Together we have lobbied, rallied, held forums, gathered petition signatures, tabled and waved our signs on street corners.

See photos and stories of League campaigns.

Read LWVC President Hirohama's speech at the August 11, 2008 OneCareNow (now California OneCare) Rally in Los Angeles.

Single Payer Health Care in California

With our national health care position as the basis, for more than a decade the LWVC has supported the movement in California to pass single payer health care. Beginning with single payer bill SB 2123 in 1998, the LWVC has consistently supported studies and legislation to pass single payer health care. See SB 810's history. Senator Mark Leno introduced the California Universal Health Care Act (SB 810) in February, 2009. SB 810 would establish a single payer health insurance system for California. It would provide fiscally sound, affordable health care to all Californians, provide every Californian the right to choose his or her own physician, and control health care cost inflation.

SB 810 is nearly identical to former Senator Sheila Kuehl’s single payer legislation (SB 840), which was passed by the legislature in 2006 and 2008 but vetoed by the governor. It has moved through the legislature and is now awaiting a vote on the Assembly floor to send it to the Governor’s desk by August 31, 2010. Read our Call to Action, asking each local League in California to support the California Universal Health Care Act (SB 810).

Dedication and work by advocates for more than a decade is the driving force that made California the first state ever to pass legislation for a single payer health insurance system. This system provides for universal comprehensive health care while maintaining the current health care delivery system.

Senator Sheila Kuehl’s SB 840 was passed in the 2005-2006 and the 2007-2008 legislative sessions and forwarded to Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk for his signature. He vetoed both bills. Read Senator Kuehl’s statement in response to the 2008 veto. At the time, each proposed plan would have provided comprehensive and affordable health care for all residents while saving the state billions of dollars. See the Health Care for All Californians Act: Cost and Economic Impacts Analysis Lewin Group Executive Summary.

Senator Kuehl’s term of office ended in 2008. However, she passed her torch to the next principle author, Senator Mark Leno, who reintroduced the 2008 bill as SB 810 of 2009-2010. See Senator Leno’s January 12, 2009 address to the Health Professional Students Regarding Single Payer Health Care.

Senator Kuehl has pledged to continue advocating for passage of single payer health insurance. Also, she is continuing her essays on government issues. Sign up to receive current essays.

The League will continue to educate Californians and gather support for this crucial reform as the fight continues!

The polls indicate that support for single payer insurance is growing, not only in California, but also nationally.

Past League Legislative Action

The LWVC evaluates health care legislation and determines if a bill should be considered for support, opposition or no action. A decision to support or oppose legislation is based on the LWVUS health care position, importance for the needs of California residents, and availability of League resources.

June - August, 2010

  • SB 810 moved through Assembly committees on its way to a vote on the Assembly floor. It was passed by the Assembly Health Committee (13-6) on June 29 and the Assembly Appropriations Committee (12-5) on August 12.

January 28, 2010

  • On a nearly party-line vote of 22 to 14, the California Senate passed the landmark
  • SB 810 (Leno) and sent it to the Assembly to continue its path to the Governor’s desk. SB 810 was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee (6-3) on January 21, clearing the way for the full Senate’s vote.
  • Read our Call to Action to League members and other throughout the state to urge their senators to vote for SB 810.

May 28, 2009

  • On May 28, 2009, after being held on the Senate Appropriations Suspense Calendar, SB 810 and a majority of other bills were held in committee and under submission. In response to California’s ongoing budget crisis, action on these bills was postponed until January 2010.
  • Senator Leno assured advocates that “This does not represent a change to our overall strategy for SB 810 to be a two-year bill, nor does it affect or prevent us from doing the important work we already are doing to advocate and educate the public about the importance of single payer in our communities and in the legislature.”
  • Advocates were urged to continue their work to build a grassroots movement until we finally bring single payer to California. “In fact,” stated Leno, “single payer health care is ultimately our best hope for a stable and secure health care system in the future . . . .” Read more from Mark Leno on health care reform.

April 15, 2009

  • The Senate Health Committee held SB 810’s first hearing on April 15. The bill guarantees comprehensive health care benefits to every California resident and is proven to contain health care spending and to improve quality and delivery. It passed with a seven-to-four vote.
  • Leno told the committee that the cost of health care is growing four times faster than the revenue needed to pay for it. Further, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) reports the cost of SB 810 would be no more than the current system, which has few if any cost controls.
  • The hearing room was packed with enthusiastic supporters and an additional room was provided for the overflow crowd. The LWVC spoke in support of SB 810 at the hearing.

February 27, 2009

  • Senator Mark Leno introduced the California Universal Health Care Act (SB 810) on February 27, 2009.
  • SB 810 is nearly identical to former Senator Sheila Kuehl’s legislation (SB 840) introduced in 2007 and vetoed by the governor in 2008. SB 810 is not socialized health care. It is a public/private partnership with shared responsibility between employees, employers and government. It provides for a single payer insurance system that replaces insurance companies. Says Senator Leno, “California is leading the way to health care reform with a fiscally sound, affordable plan that provides comprehensive health care to all residents. Patients also will be able to choose their own doctors.”

October 1, 2008

  • Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed Senator Sheila Kuehl’s SB 840, the League-supported bill proposing comprehensive single payer health care coverage for Californians. Read Senator Kuehl’s statement in response to the veto.
  • Assembly Member Mark Leno, who is expected to be elected to the state senate in November, will reintroduce the bill in the 2009-2010 legislative session. The League will continue to educate Californians and gather support for this crucial reform as the fight continues into 2009!
  • For more information on SB 840, see Background.

August 2008

  • We are a strong supporter of SB 840, which has been passed by the legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk. Join other single payer supporters in a rally at the Capitol on September 8 to urge Governor Schwarzenegger to sign this important bill!
  • Click here for a flyer about the rally and transportation to Sacramento. Read our July 14 Call to Action to learn more about efforts to pass SB 840.

January 2008

  • ABX1 1 is the health care reform bill promoted by Assembly Speaker Núñez and Governor Schwarzenegger. We oppose this bill because it does not propose a system that will provide adequate, affordable coverage to all Californians.
  • The Senate Health Committee held a hearing on the bill on January 23 and a vote is scheduled for Monday, January 28. Help us tell Senators to vote no.
  • The LWVC sent a letter to committee members.
  • The funding provisions for this Núñez-Schwarzenegger proposal appear in an initiative that is awaiting title and summary for petition circulation. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has published a fiscal analysis of ABX1 1 and the initiative.

December 2007

  • ABX1 1 was passed by the Assembly on December 17 on a 46-31 party-line vote and sent to the Senate for consideration. Senate President pro Tem Perata has asked the LAO to provide an analysis of the bill’s impact on the state budget situation before ABX1 1 is heard in the Senate Health Committee.
  • See Assembly Passes Health Care Reform Package for a brief analysis by the California Budget Project, or click on ABX1 1 to see analyses by the Legislature.

November 2007

  • Governor Schwarzenegger called a special legislative session on health care. ABX1 1 is an amended version of AB 8, Assembly Speaker Núñez's bill that was passed near the end of the regular legislative session and vetoed. We oppose this bill. See our Call to Action and Letter to Speaker Núñez.
  • See the LWVC Evaluation Criteria for Health Care Reform Proposals, a tool we use in assessing current proposals for reform.
  • See also our previous Call to Action to see why AB 8 was NOT the solution to California's health care crisis. How did the major reform proposals size up? See our comparison chart. We are a strong supporter of Senator Sheila Kuehl's SB 840, a bill proposing comprehensive single payer health care coverage. For more information on SB 840, see Background.
  • The League of Women Voters of California joined with other endorsers of SB 840 and the OneCareNow campaign at the State Capitol for the launch of SB 840, the California Universal Healthcare Act, in February. The halls, hearing rooms, offices, and other public spaces were filled to overflowing by advocates for the bill.
  • See photos and stories of League campaigns!
  • Read LWVC President Hirohama's speech at the August 11 OneCareNow Rally in Los Angeles.