(Jenna Schoenefeld / For the Los Angeles Time)
In his 2018 bid for governor of California, Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told the the Sacramento Bee he’ll propose a universal health care system for the state, a response to ongoing efforts by President Trump and the Republican-led Congress to replace the Affordable Care Act.
With the proposal, which is modeled on a city program he supported while mayor of San Francisco, Newsom is trying to stake a claim to an issue that may become pivotal in the contested race, especially among his biggest Democratic rivals.
Newsom told the Bee he’s consulting with health care leaders to craft a statewide system.
Healthy San Francisco, the first-in-the-nation, city-run universal health care effort he conceived, is funded in part by an employer mandate and covers uninsured adults living in San Francisco. Launched in 2007, the plan enrolls all residents without health insurance, regardless of their income, immigration status or existing medical conditions.
The California Legislature already has started exploring the idea of a adopting a state-run “single-payer” system that would operate similar to Medicare.
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced a bill in late February that would make California the first state to adopt a single-payer system. In a single-payer system, residents would pay into a state agency that essentially functions as an insurance company. The agency would pay doctors and hospitals when people sought treatment.
Bills establishing single-payer health care systems made it through the Legislature in 2006 and 2008 only to be vetoed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Audience members hold signs at a hearing on immigration bills before the state Senate Appropriations Committee. California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times) (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Former assemblyman David Hadley, center, greeting voters at a candidate forum in 2016.