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Single Payer Falls 2 Votes Short In California Senate

Four Democrats Sit Out Critical Vote

Common Dreams staff

Health care advocates gathered for a rally to call for a single payer health care plan at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Jan. 9, 2012. Hundreds of doctors, nurses, medical students , seniors and their supporters demonstrated in support of the passage of SB810 which would establish a Medicare for All / Single Payer health care system in California. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

When California's SB 810 -- Single Payer Health Care for California passed through the California Senate's Appropriations Committee by a 6-2 vote last week, activists thought they had an excellent chance to get the "Medicare for All" bill passed by the full Senate.

Yesterday, however, four Democrats sat out the critical vote, leaving the bill short 2 votes of the 21 votes needed for passage. 19 Democrats voted yes, 15 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted no. And the key remaining four Democrats abstained.

SB 810 can be brought up again under “Reconsideration” next Tuesday, January 31, 2012.

Single Payer Now is urging that pressure be put on the 4 Democrats who didn't vote:

The following 4 Senators abstained from even casting a vote on this extremely important piece of legislation.

Senator Alex Padilla (Pacoima/LA area)
Phone: (916) 651‑4020

Senator Juan Vargas (San Diego area)
Phone: (916) 651‑4040

Senator Michael Rubio (Fresno/Bakersfield area)
Phone: (916) 651‑4016

Senator Rod Wright (Los Angeles area)
Phone: (916) 651‑4025

Check here to see if you are represented by these senators.

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The Los Angeles Times reports:

State lawmakers deadlocked Thursday over a controversial measure that would provide universal healthcare in California.

"Clearly, the current system is not working for businesses, for employers, for employees, for families" -- Sen. Mark LenoIn a vote in which some Democrats did not participate, the measure received only 19 of the 21 votes needed for passage in the Senate, but it was put over for another possible vote next week. [...]

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) noted that some people have argued there is no need for state legislation because the federal government has already approved an affordable healthcare system to begin in 2014.

But Leno said states are allowed to provide greater healthcare under that system, and that California should act because the courts are considering lawsuits to overturn the federal plan.

Leno said SB 810 is needed because healthcare premiums have increased five times the rate of inflation in the last decade and 12 million Californians went without coverage during some time last year.

"Clearly, the current system is not working for businesses, for employers, for employees, for families," he said.

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