Updated Feb. 2017. I put this page together back around 2003. A lot has changed, and not much has changed.
We've had Obamacare, which some people that hate Obama do not know is also the Affordable Care Act.
At this writing the Trumpsters are trying to figure out how to dismantle it.
Its existence means that some of what is below is no longer true.
For instance, I can't have my insurance canceled for a pre-existing condition.
The HCA-CA organization has diminished, perhaps due to Obamacare.
Maybe since some people could buy insurance they lost the motivation to continue working on single-payer solutions.
The Ventura county chapter is gone.
I wouldn't trust any of the HCA links below other than its home page.
A new bill has been introduced for the 2017-18 session, SB-562 Californians For A Healthy California Act. You might find it at the government site.
The bill is a disappointment compared to the earlier bills discussed below.
They had full bugetary analysis of the proposal. This bill only
"would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would establish a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program".
Maybe that is a required step after the ACA.
If it is, it means we are still years away from a single-payer system.
If not, it seems to be little more than a feel-good bill.
Please note that this was written before Obamacare, so the facts might no longer be true.
More than 6.5 million Californians - one in five - live without health
insurance, and the number is rising.
- California ranks a dismal 47th in the nation in the number of
non-elderly people who have insurance.
- 83% of the uninsured are employed.
- Health insurance costs continue to rise at double digit rates each
year, forcing employers to reduce coverage or drop benefits altogether.
- Emergency rooms are on the brink of financial collapse, jeopardizing the
health of every resident.
- Half of all bankruptcies in the U.S. are related to medical bills and
3/4 of those bankrupted families had health insurance at the time
they became ill or injured.
Health Care for All—California (HCA) is an nonprofit
organization designed to support a bill creating a single-payer health plan.
Originally introduced as SB 921, then SB 840 and now SB 810, the bill
provides universal healthcare
without the insurance industry. It removes the health insurance industry, whose
purpose is to make a profit by avoiding the sick, denying claims,
and passing costs on to others.
The bill is a bureaucracy buster as it removes the thousands of health
insurance forms that providers and patients have to deal with.
It contains no co-pays or deductibles.
The best sources of information about the bill and campaign are
the official websites.
is Health Care for All—California's main website.
- The website
www.OneCareNow.org is no longer part of the healthcare movement.
— The OneCareNow Coalition Campaign was a project of Health Care
The California OneCareNow Campaign is the nation's first-ever
statewide grassroots campaign for universal health insurance.
Its original purpose was to have teams
in more than 365 California cities conduct grassroots educational
and public awareness "action" events—one event per day, in a different
city, for one year—to demand quality, affordable healthcare for all
- Contact information for HCA-CA's local chapters is available at
their main website. The Santa Barbara chapter is the closest to me (without
traveling towards Los Angeles).
Senator Mark Leno introduced the latest version of the single payer bill,
SB 810, The California Universal Healthcare Act on March 11, 2009.
A similar bill was first introduced in 2003 as SB 921 by now
retired Senator Kuehl. It was reintroduced
in 2005 as SB 840, the California Health Insurance Reliability Act, (CHIRA).
In 2009 Sen. Mark Leno introduced SB 810, which retains the language
in Sen. Kuehl's SB 840.
A detailed history of the bill ws available at HCA, but it apparently is now
too old, so the page has been removed.
A bill creating universal healthcare through a publicly financed
administration in California, authored by Senator Sheila Kuehl,
D-Santa Monica, was introduced to the Senate in February, 2005.
A copy of the bill is available from the legislature.
HCA-CA's website had a comprehensive (http://www.healthcareforall.org/factsheet.pdf)
Fact Sheet (pdf) about SB 840, and a shorter summary
(http://www.healthcareforall.org/summary840.pdf) SB 840 Summary (pdf). Both are long gone.
A brief fact
sheet on the newer SB 810 was also available at "http://www.healthcareforall.org/lenofact.pdf".
SB 810 status: There is
no way to link to a page that will provide the current status of a bill because
the name of the page at the government's website changes with every update.
The status can be obtained by doing a search at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html. Limit the search to Senate, and search for 810.
A small sample of articles and endorsements on SB 921 follows. More can be found at
Why I'm Involved
I unwillingly discovered the problems with our insurance system
when I left my corporate job. I call it an insurance system rather
that a health system because that's what it really is. It is a system
that is designed to make a profit, and that is best done by insuring
healthy people and not insuring the less healthy.
I found that it doesn't take much to be considered not healthy when
I was rejected by the four of the major providers, usually without
being given any reason.
The applications require you to list every doctor visit, every medication,
every self treated or untreated symptom that you have had for the last
10 years. If they find that you didn't do it right, they can later
retroactively cancel you without reimbursement.
One company did give me the reason they rejected me. They listed
everything I had put on my
application. It seems that going to have a potential problem checked by a
doctor qualifies as a problem, even if it is never diagnosed.
A Dec. 2006 Los Angeles Times article about the difficulty of getting health
insurance, previously at
titled "Healthy? Insurers don't buy it", ended with this:
According to regulators' postings, rejection
letters and interviews with brokers, conditions that can lead
to outright rejection or a higher premium include:
AIDS, allergies, arthritis, asthma, attention deficit disorder,
autism, bed-wetting, breast implants, cancer, cerebral palsy,
chronic bronchitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic sinusitis,
cirrhosis, cystitis, diabetes, ear infections, epilepsy, gender
reassignment, heart disease and hemochromatosis (a common genetic
disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron).
Other conditions are hepatitis, herpes, high blood pressure,
impotence, infertility, irritable bowel syndrome, joint sprain,
kidney infections, lupus, mild depression, muscular dystrophy,
migraines, miscarriage, pregnancy, "expectant fatherhood,"
planned adoption, psoriasis, recurrent tonsillitis, renal failure,
ringworm, severe mental disorders, sleep apnea, stroke, ulcers and
Remember, those don't have to be current conditions, they can
be anything that happened within the last ten years.
Fortunately, I found that there is a very small time window where
"guaranteed issue" insurance can be obtained. I learned about it
just in time, and obtained it at double the premium of the same
insurance that isn't obtained through this program. All the insurers
were quoting similar prices.
Within two months after getting the insurance, my premiums rose
by over 25%. In part because of a birthday that changed by age bracket,
within two years my insurance was 64% more than the original quote.
After 5 years, I was paying 84% more.
I was threatened with cancellation when my credit card expiration
date changed. They couldn't process the change quickly enough
for my automatic payment to go through, so they sent a letter
demanding that I pay by phone, for an additional fee, within 15 days
or my policy would be cancelled.
So I am now insured at an absurdly high cost, with a high
co-payment and a high deducible. But at least I have coverage.
Unless I do really get sick, when I may find myself retroactively
cancelled as has happened to so many other people.
(LA Times article)
An animated description of how a single payer system works:
San Francisco Chronicle article, Health
The Los Angeles Times has a page listing articles they have done
about health insurance at https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-healthinsure-sg-storygallery.html.
Many of the stories are by Lisa Girion. If the link no longer works
then a search for latimes and Girion can often find other locations
to read them. Many of the articles were about investigations
by the Times and were very well done.
— A grassroots association of volunteers supporting Universal
Single Payer Healthcare for California since 1994.
California Assembly and Senate Bill information: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html
(search by bill number)
Know Your State Legislators: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html
(search by zip code)