California Senate advances universal healthcare proposal without funding plan

The California Senate approved proposed legislation Thursday calling for a universal healthcare system, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The bill approved by the Senate is "bare-bones" and does not include details on funding for the initiative, the report states.

Senate Bill 562, known as The Healthy California Act, is spearheaded by California Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, along with other legislators. It calls for a "Medicare-for-all type system" that would provide coverage for state residents, according to the report.

"Despite the incredible progress California has made, millions still do not have access to health insurance and millions more cannot afford the high deductibles and copays, and they often forgo care," Mr. Lara said during a debate on the bill, reports Los Angeles Times.

A preliminary state review released last month projects universal healthcare in California would cost about $400 billion per year. However, finalized details about how the initiative would be funded are not yet determined. One funding idea comes from the California Nurses Association, which sponsored the bill. The CNA proposed raising the state sales and business receipts taxes by 2.3 percent, as well as using state and federal Medicare and Medicaid monies, according to the report. The preliminary state report from last month proposed using federal, state and local funding, as well as a possible additional payroll tax.

The state Assembly will now consider Senate Bill 562. Mr. Lara acknowledged in the report that the legislation needs further work, and hopes funding mechanisms for the proposal can be worked out.


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