SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers on Tuesday will start debating whether to create the nation’s first universal health care system, a key measure of whether the proposal has the support to pass this year.
Progressives have tried for years to create a government-funded universal health care system to replace the one that relies on private insurance. Voters overwhelmingly rejected a 1994 ballot initiative that would have created a universal health care system. Another attempt passed the state Senate in 2017, but it died in the state Assembly with no funding plan attached to it.
This year, Democrats in the state Assembly have filed two bills: one that would create the universal health care system and set its rules, the other would lay out how to pay for everything by raising taxes on some wealthier individuals and larger businesses.
The first bill is the one getting a hearing on Tuesday before the Assembly Health Committee, where Chair Jim Wood, a Democrat from Santa Rosa, has already said he will vote for it. Because the proposal was introduced last year, it must pass the state Assembly by the end of January to have a chance at becoming law this year.
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