California takes step to universal healthcare coverage

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved legislation directing the state's HHS to outline requirements for a federal wage application focused on universal healthcare coverage in partnership with the federal government, according to an Oct. 7 report from CBS Bay Area.

The legislation, Senate Bill 770, is the first step to providing access to standard healthcare services for all state residents, potentially including long-term care. The entitlement would be the same for all residents regardless of age, income, employment, immigration status and more, according to the report.

California would apply for a waiver to allocate Medicare and Medicaid federal funds for what may be a single-payer system in the future, according to the Los Angeles Times. The system would be financed entirely by state and federal funds to cover all residents, according to the report.

California would also create a "unified financing" system that doesn't differentiate between beneficiaries of Medicare, Medi-Cal, employer-sponsored insurance and residents who received coverage on the individual market.

"With this signature, California takes a historic step toward universal healthcare," said Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, author of the bill, in a statement reported by the Times. "The state will now begin answering the complex questions of how we can access federal financing to fund a universal healthcare system like single-payer."

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