California Senate panel pushes single-payer proposal
California lawmakers last week pushed a proposal to turn the healthcare system in the nation's most populous state into a single-payer program.
The plan, promoted by the state's powerful nursing union and two Democratic senators, is a longshot even though it made it past the state Senate Health Committee. Supporters hope the timing is right to persuade lawmakers in California, where Democrats like to push the boundaries of liberal public policy.
The measure would guarantee health coverage with no out-of-pocket costs for all California residents, including people living in the country illegally.
Private insurers would be barred from covering the same services, essentially eliminating them from the marketplace.
Instead, a new state agency would set prices and contract with healthcare providers such as doctors and hospitals and pay the bills for everyone.