This Usually Sleepy Race Could Become a Showdown Over Single-Payer Health Care

One of the biggest foes of private coverage wants to be California’s next insurance watchdog.

Last year, as Republicans in Congress were working to dismantle Obamacare, the California state Senate was headed in the opposite direction. Last June, Democratic lawmakers passed a bill that would have ended private health insurance in the state, replacing it with a publicly funded single-payer system that would cover medical costs for all residents.

The Healthy California Act, drafted by Democratic state Sens. Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, was an early skirmish in a growing fight for publicly funded health care. After the bill made headlines, “Health Care for All” emerged as a central progressive rallying cry. Presidential potentials like Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have signaled their support for single-payer health care, as have gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom in California, Cynthia Nixon in New York, and Ben Jealous in Maryland. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Michigan Rep. John Conyers introduced single-payer bills in Congress. (read more)