Nicole Rice

Healthcare overhaul hearing to start in the fall

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Aug. 28, 2017 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend


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Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) has asked the Select Committees on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage to hold ongoing hearings to develop plans for achieving universal health care in California. Drs. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) and Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), chairs of the respective committees, will begin holding these meetings this Fall once the legislative session ends next month.

This announcement succeeds angry protests by proponents displeased with the Speaker for ending legislative conversations earlier this year on SB 562, the single-payer healthcare bill.  See CMTA’s previous article

Speaker Rendon stressed that this discussion will be broader than the one around SB 562. New opportunities to determine the best and quickest path forward toward universal health care will be discussed. Approaches for consideration include Medicare for all; single-payer; hybrid systems and possibly an expansion of ACA. Issues raised by the Speaker when shelving the legislation - overcoming potential federal and constitutional obstacles; ensuring delivery of care and examining funding mechanisms – will also be part of the debate.

However, the response from Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), joint author on SB 562, was a bit confusing. His media statement suggested that Speaker Rendon was creating a new select committee on universal healthcare when in fact discussions on the future of California’s healthcare systems will be conducted through existing select committees.

Overall, the Senator was pleased with the announcement stating, “I am glad the Assembly is joining the conversation about universal healthcare that started in the Senate this year … [t]he conversations I have had with my friend Speaker Anthony Rendon show he is committed to healthcare for all, and the Select Committee is a tangible product of that commitment. Having more legislators involved in hearing the healthcare stories of Californians will move this important debate forward.”

However, The California Nurses Association, the bill’s sponsors, were not so complementary. According to their press release, “California does not need a Select Committee to hold hearings to develop a plan for achieving universal healthcare in California … [a] Select Committee is not actual legislation. It is not a policy committee. There is nothing a Select Committee can do that could not have been done by first the Assembly Health Committee, then the Assembly Appropriations Committee could have done on SB 562 – if the goal was, in fact “serious proposals for healthcare for all.”

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