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California’s disappearing health care reform


A VERY STRANGE THING HAPPENED to the California single payer health care bill this year. It disappeared.

This disappearance was no small thing. Single payer has actually passed both California legislative branches — twice — before being vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bill hasn’t exactly been obscure, if only because its initial sponsor was Senator Sheila Kuehl, famous long ago as Zelda on the television show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Yet, where Vermont begins the year progressing toward its version of a single payer system and Pennsylvania unveils a study of how much money a similar system might save its people, the largest state in the union has no such legislative vehicle, despite the millions who will remain uncovered by “Obamacare” and reports of drastic health insurance rate increases to come.

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