Legislation to create a "single-payer" health care system in California won approval in a key committee today, getting the OK for a vote of the full Senate.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 810, Democratic Sen. Mark Leno's universal health care measure, by a vote of 6-2.
The vote came as the committee met to consider bills introduced in 2011 that are projected to cost the state at least $50,000. A fiscal analysis of SB 810 estimated that running a health care system that would be open to all 37 million Californians could cost up to $250 billion a year.
The bill, which supporters say would provide greater access to health coverage and lower costs, does not include any taxes or fees to cover the cost of the system, which would be run by a new state agency.
The concept has been introduced in the Legislature multiple times in recent years. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed one version approved in the 2007-2008 legislative session. A 2009-2010 measure, also authored by Leno, died in the state Assembly.
The committee also approved urgency legislation related to local redevelopment agencies, which are set to shut down next month due to legislation and court decisions.
Senate Bill 654, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would allow the local governments to keep redevelopment money budgeted for low- and moderate-income housing. The bill, which also affects repayment of loans from local governments, would need to win approval from two-thirds of members in both houses to take effect immediately.
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation containing a similar provision last year, saying it would be premature to take action before a legal battle over dissolving the agencies was settled.