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July 14, 2008

Help Pass SB 840 in the Assembly!
Urge Your Assembly Members to Support Single Payer Health Care

The push to enact SB 840 this year begins with the Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing on July 16. A large turnout of supporters is vital!

The action will move to the Assembly floor in August. Begin now to educate your representatives.

SB 840, Senator Sheila Kuehl’s landmark bill to establish a single payer health insurance system for California, will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, July 16. Come to the 9 a.m. hearing in room 4202 of the State Capitol! Leagues in the capital area are encouraged to send as many members as possible. It’s important to fill the hearing room to show committee members strong public support for SB 840.

SB 840 will be sent to the committee’s “suspense file” with other bills that have cost impacts. We need to lobby Appropriations Committee members now, and again in early August, to move SB 840 out of suspense and to the Assembly floor. We must also lobby all remaining assembly members to pass SB 840. Early action to educate your assembly member will pay off!

In the 2005-2006 session, SB 840 moved through the legislature and to the governor’s desk but was vetoed. Reintroduced in 2007, the bill has passed the Senate and the Assembly Health Committee. Our grassroots movement for single payer health care has grown every year. Now, we need even more supporters to put SB 840 back on the governor’s desk for his signature in September.

We must educate all assembly members who do not understand the advantages and cost savings that a single payer insurance system can deliver for Californians—individuals, businesses, and governments.

The need to pass SB 840 is greater than ever. Since the governor’s veto in 2006, health care costs have increased dramatically. California employers and individuals are paying escalating health care costs, while wages are not keeping up.

The costs to the state, as an employer and a safety net provider for many Californians, have fed into the current unprecedented budget crisis. The taxes that pay for health care are a function of wages. If health care costs grow two to three times faster than wages, then it's clear that each year that goes by without the passage of single payer health care digs an even deeper hole for all Californians.

League Position: The League of Women Voters believes that a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all residents. View our position here.

For more information, go to "Single payer insurance: a viable and affordable solution to the health care crisis".

The Legislative Analyst’s Office recently released a report on a single payer system for California. Click here to find the report and for information about Senator Kuehl’s response.


First step:  Take action with the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
If your assembly member is on the Appropriations Committee (see table below), contact him or her NOW by phone, fax, or e-mail. Find your legislator and additional contact information. Also, forward this alert to your friends and colleagues.

Local League and ILO Presidents: Please send a letter to show League support for SB 840. Also, e-mail this alert to your members with a request for immediate action.

Tailor your message to your assembly member. Support for SB 840 has largely been along party lines.

  • Ask Assembly Members Davis and Furutani for their vote.
  • Ask committee chair Leno to help pass the bill.
  • Thank all the coauthors for their support and, excluding the two new coauthors, ask them to recommit to coauthor SB 840.
  • Point out to Republicans the impact of escalating health care costs on individual Californians and employers and on the state budget. Educate them on the cost savings and merits of SB 840.
Assembly Appropriations Committee Members
Assembly Member Party-District Phone# Expected SB 840 Vote
Mark Leno – Chair Dem-13 (916) 319-2013 Principal Coauthor
Mimi Walters – Vice Chair Rep-73 (916) 319-2073 No
Anna M. Caballero Dem-28 (916) 319-2028 Coauthor
Mike Davis Dem-48 (916) 319-2048 Swing
Mark DeSaulnier Dem-11 (916) 319-2011 Coauthor
Bill Emmerson Rep-63 (916) 319-2063 No
Warren T. Furutani Dem-55 (916) 319-2055 Swing
Jared Huffman Dem-6 (916) 319-2006 Coauthor
Betty Karnette Dem-54 (916) 319-2054 New Coauthor
Paul Krekorian Dem-43 (916) 319-2043 Coauthor
Doug La Malfa  Rep-2 (916) 319-2002 No
Ted W. Lieu  Dem-53 (916) 319-2053 Coauthor
Fiona Ma  Dem-12 (916) 319-2012 Coauthor
Alan Nakanishi Rep-10 (916) 319-2010 No
Pedro Nava Dem-35 (916) 319-2035 Coauthor
Sharon Runner Rep-36 (916) 319-2036 No
Jose Solorio  Dem-69 (916) 319-2069 New Coauthor

Next step:  Contact all other assembly members.
Assuming that SB 840 will be taken from the suspense file and passed out of the Appropriations Committee in early August, we need to lobby all remaining assembly members to pass SB 840. Find your assembly member.

All League presidents and members who will not lobby Assembly Appropriations Committee members should begin now to lobby their assembly members for the final floor vote. Ask for an appointment with your legislator in his or her district office. Ask for commitments from all Democrats who are not coauthors. Seek more coauthors and ask previous coauthors to recommit. Meet with Republicans to educate them on the cost savings and merits of SB 840 and stress the importance of establishing universal health care in this time of swiftly rising health care costs.

Use this table of assembly members PDF File.  Click to download Adobe Acrobat Reader. and how they are currently expected to vote so that you can suit your message to your representative. Find your legislator and additional contact information.

For more information: Contact LWVC Health Care Program Director Barbara Storey at bs_lwv004@cox.net

Keep us informed: Send us an e-mail message at advocacy@lwvc.org to let us know what action you have taken and any responses you have received.



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