Long Beach Press-Telegram: State senator, mayor push single payer health system at Long Beach rally

February 25, 2017

By Andrew Edwards, Press-Telegram

A state Senator who represents the Long Beach area asked an already-motivated crowd to “send a message that California is going to stand up for patients” during a rally intended to build support for the latest bid to establish universal health care in the state.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, along with Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, other local politicos and supporters of California Nurses Association/National Nurses United addressed a gathering that numbered at least 100 people Friday evening at Harvey Milk Park in downtown Long Beach.

Lara and State Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, have already introduced a bill that serves as the beginning on the latest attempt to establish single-payer healthcare in California. Broadly, the term single-payer refers to a system in which the government spends public funds to pay health care providers for treatments that are guaranteed to residents.

The bill, S.B. 562, elicited cheers from the Long Beach crowd since it bears the same number as the city’s area code. At this point, however, the bill does not contain extensive details on how a single-payer plan may be designed for California....

Lara said in a short interview after the rally that amendments laying details of the plan may be added to the bill within a few weeks. He also acknowledged the likelihood that he and other single-payer supporters may face a difficult challenge getting the bill made into law, but that he sees an imperative for California to craft its own policies while the new presidential administration pursues policies that he opposes.

“It’s going to definitely be a tough lift. No one can deny this is the time to have this discussion,” Lara said.

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