Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) traveled to Beverly Hills to grovel at the feet of the California Legislature and beg them to pass Senate Bill 562, which would create a publicly-funded universal health care system throughout the state and legitimize Sandersâ€™ efforts to bring about a similar piece of legislation on the national stage.
â€śPlease lead the country and pass the single-payer bill,â€ť Sanders said during his acceptance speech for an award from the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog. â€śPlease make my life easier. The great state of California can send a message that will be heard all over this country, and all over the world if you pass single-payer here.â€ť
SB 562, which has been dubbed the â€śHealthy California Act,â€ť vows â€śto guarantee that every resident of California will receive comprehensive healthcare services. Itâ€™s like Medicare for All.â€ť So far, the bill has passed through the Senate Health Committee and faces several more hurdles in the State Senate before it can be put to a final vote.
Among the most vocal proponents of the bill has been Californiaâ€™s sizable progressive population, including the powerful nurseâ€™s union that emerged as one of Sandersâ€™ most fervent supporters during his primary challenge against Hillary Clinton.
However, SB 562 has failed to gain traction among many of the stateâ€™s leading Democrats such as Gov. Jerry Brown, who has suggested that this is not the right time for a single-payer system in California and has voiced concerns about funding the bill.
â€śWhere do you get the extra money? This is the whole question,â€ť Brown said during an interview in March, noting that the overall cost of healthcare in California comes out to $450 billion, which is about 18 percent of the stateâ€™s GDP.
â€śYou take a problem and say Iâ€™m going to solve it by something thatâ€™s even a bigger problem, which makes no sense,â€ť he concluded.