Single-payer healthcare is not going to happen in California - at least this year. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is holding the bill in the Rules Committee until further notice, saying the bill was "woefully inadequate."
SB 562 passed the Senate a few weeks back, just after the cost estimate of $400 billion a year (more than double the state budget!) was released and considerably dimmed the measure's popularity. At the time Dems said they'd get all of those little details worked out in committee then bring the bill back to the Senate, but Rendon's decision stopped that for now.
As one who's watched Sacramento closely over the last four years, Rendon's move is stunning. During this era of almost unchecked Democrat power, skeletal bills are passed and signed into law routinely, and then bureaucrats decide the details later in the form of regulations. Last year's slate of gun control bills (Gunpocalypse) are a glaring example of this practice. Nearly a year after they were signed, the Department of Justice has yet to promulgate regulations and is asking for extra time to so. In addition, DOJ came back to the legislature this year with a "Budget Change Proposal" asking for millions of additional dollars to implement the legislation - because the proper financial analysis wasn't performed during the legislative process.
With that background, it's apparent that the threshold for "adequate" is very low in Sacramento. Rendon's full statement is a huge slam on Sen. Ricardo Lara and Sen. Toni Atkins, the sponsors of SB 562. Noting the most recent alleged "repeal and replace" legislation in Washington, DC, Rendon said:
“Preparing California to meet this threat must be the top health care priority for the Legislature, Governor Brown, and organizations that advocate for increasing access to health care.
“As someone who has long been a supporter of single payer, I am encouraged by the conversation begun by Senate Bill 562.
“However, SB 562 was sent to the Assembly woefully incomplete. Even senators who voted for SB 562 noted there are potentially fatal flaws in the bill, including the fact it does not address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls, or the realities of needed action by the Trump Administration and voters to make SB 562 a genuine piece of legislation.
“In light of this, I have decided SB 562 will remain in the Assembly Rules Committee until further notice.
“Because this is the first year of a two-year session, this action does not mean SB 562 is dead. In fact, it leaves open the exact deep discussion and debate the senators who voted for SB 562 repeatedly said is needed.
“The Senate can use that time to fill the holes in SB 562 and pass and send to the Assembly workable legislation that addresses financing, delivery of care, and cost control."
In other words, this proposal is so bad that Rendon doesn't want to be associated with it, and he's telling them to come back when they're serious. Or, is this the first step in kicking the can? Rendon's statement ends with acknowledging that the leaders of Campaign for a Healthy California want have single-payer healthcare initiative on the ballot in 2018, and that they still have plenty of time to pursue that.
Knowing how much California Dems want to poke Trump in the eye, and that their standard operating procedure is to pass incomplete, overreaching laws without hesitation, California conservatives should breathe a sigh of relief that this bill is stalled but remain on high alert.