Single-Payer Health Care Bill Introduced in California Legislature

Single-Payer HealthcareA bill that would enact a single-payer health care coverage system in California was introduced for the second consecutive year by Assemblymember Ash Kalra last week.

The bill, AB 2200 (Kalra; D-San Jose), would establish the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act and enact a framework of governance, benefits, program standards, and health care cost controls. Notably absent from the bill is how the massive new bureaucracy will be funded. The Healthy California for All Commission estimated a single-payer healthcare system would cost the state over $500 billion annually.

Over the last several sessions, California legislators have introduced and reintroduced bills attempting to overthrow the entire state health care system and install a government-run, single-payer health care model.

In the 2022–2023 session, Assemblymember Kalra introduced two companion bills, AB 1400 (Kalra; D-San Jose) and ACA 11 (Kalra; D-San Jose), which were tagged by the California Chamber of Commerce as job killers. Both bills failed to pass the Legislature.

The CalChamber has opposed single-payer health care bills in the past because they proposed an extremely expensive and untested state-run health care system that inherently requires massive new taxes on Californians.

Californians need to have affordable health care coverage when they access their quality health care providers. Although Californians experience premium increases on an annual basis, an expensive and complete overhaul of the health care system is not the answer to insuring the uninsured and improving affordability.

Moreover, single-payer health care does not equate to free health care.

“The exorbitant taxes and costs associated with this system will systemically eradicate new jobs while driving out existing industries,” CalChamber Senior Policy Advocate Preston Young said. “The consequences associated with adopting a single-payer health care model should discourage the Legislature from pushing forward any such proposal in California.”

Health Care Coverage Is Nearly Universal for Californians

Through a patchwork of commercial and public options, California is closing in on insuring nearly 100% of its population—regardless of immigration status. According to data from the Department of Managed Health Care and the Department of Insurance, total health care coverage increased in 2022 by 4.7%—meaning there are now 35.9 million enrollees in California, which is a record.

The CalChamber 2023 People’s Voice survey, conducted by Bold Decision and Pierrepont Consulting & Analytics, found that 87% of voters report that they are satisfied with their health insurance (asked of those with insurance), and 45% report that they are “very satisfied.”

Among those with private health insurance, 78% responded that they would rather keep their private insurance, as opposed to switching to a government-run single-payer approach.

Staff Contact: Preston Young

Preston Young
Preston R. Young joined the California Chamber of Commerce in October 2019 as a policy advocate, specializing in health care policy and taxation issues. He was named a senior policy advocate starting January 1, 2024 in recognition of his efforts on behalf of members. Young came to CalChamber from Schuering Zimmerman & Doyle, LLP, where he specialized in medical malpractice, health care, product liability and elder abuse litigation. Young holds a B.A. in communications from Saint Mary’s College of California, and earned a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law, where he was associate editor of the Environmental Law Journal. See full bio.