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SB 840 (Kuehl): The California Universal Healthcare Act
A viable and affordable solution for the health care crisis

In-Depth Questions and Answers

Single payer universal health care

What is a single payer universal health care system?

SB 840 (Kuehl) provides for a single payer universal health care system that is financed and administered by the state. It will replace California’s current system of multiple public and private insurers, which excludes nearly 6.6 million Californians from health coverage.[1] The health care system provides all residents with comprehensive health care regardless of their age, health or employment status. While controlling health care costs, the state pays for all health care charges for care provided to residents by private doctors, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other providers that continue to operate as independent entities.

 This health care system is not socialized health care because the state will not run the health care delivery system. Instead, it will manage how the system is financed and provide coverage for all residents based on a single standard of care for everyone.

 This publicly financed health care system replaces most current government funded health programs and hundreds of private insurance companies that administer thousands of different policies. These private insurers waste health care dollars on excessive and inefficient spending on health care administration instead of providing needed health care.

 The Lewin Group, a premier national health care and human services consulting firm with more than 35 years providing analytical services for public, non-profit and private sectors, finds that several single payer financing models similar to SB 840 reduce costs significantly enough to provide a basis for single payer universal health care for all Californians.[2]

[1] The State of Health Insurance in California: Findings from the 2003 California Health Interview Survey, Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, 2005, 11-12.
[2] Cost and Coverage Analysis of Nine Proposals to Expand Health Coverage in California, Final Report, Falls Church, VA: The Lewin Group, 2002, vi-vii.
John F Shields and  Randall A Haught, The Health Care for All Californians Act: Cost and Economic Impacts Analysis, Executive Summary, Falls Church, VA: The Lewin Group, 2005, ii-iii.

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