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CA Lawmakers Have Been Overly Influenced By Health Insurance Lobby, Says San Jose Assemblyman

California's State Capitol in Sacramento.
(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
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The latest attempt to establish a single-payer healthcare system in California failed last week before going to a vote. The lead author of the proposed bill, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), pulled the legislation prior to its landing on the Assembly floor, saying there wasn’t enough support to pass it.

Now Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose), who co-authored the bill, says he was disheartened by the outcome.

"I think momentum was really on our side, and I think we ought to advance the conversation when it comes to getting towards universal single payer health care,” he said. “I have all the confidence that we'll continue to advance this issue."

Lee said most of his colleagues in the legislature agree that the current healthcare system isn't working, but they've been influenced by disinformation from the insurance lobby.

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"A lot of the for-profit entities have a lot to lose … if we move to a system that prioritizes health care for patients instead of the ridiculous costs,” he said. “There's real industries that will stand to lose on their profit, and that's why they've been spending so much” to defeat a single-payer system.

He added that while lawmakers agree something should be done to improve the healthcare system, they're not comfortable with the systemic changes needed to make that happen.

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