California's "Medicare for all" universal health care legislation fell short of the 21 votes needed to pass the state Senate today.
Senate Bill 810 failed on a 19-15 vote during this morning's floor session, with four moderate Democrats abstaining and one voting no.
Democratic Sen. Mark Leno, who authored the bill, said the proposal would stabilize health care costs and expand access to coverage.
He called the bill, which does not include funding to cover the projected $250 billion annual cost of running the single-payer system, the first step in a "many year project" that will likely require asking voters to approve financing. He encouraged members to support the bill to allow the policy discussion to continue.
No Republicans voted for the bill. Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, criticized the proposal as an attempt to create "another costly and inefficient bureaucracy."
"There's no doubt that we need health care reform, there's no doubt that we need to improve our health care system, but members, this is not the bill to move forward," he said.
The bill faces a Tuesday deadline for passing the state Senate in the current legislative session. Several similar bills have cleared one or both houses in recent years. The last version to win legislative approval was vetoed by then-GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.