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Calif. lawmaker reintroduces universal care bill


SACRAMENTO, Calif.--Calling California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's health care reform proposal a giveaway to insurers, state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, has introduced single-payer health care legislation for the third time.

The measure, which passed both houses of the California Assembly last year and was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, would virtually eliminate the need for private health insurance by creating a state agency funded by taxes on payroll and income to pay for medical treatment for all California residents.

By contrast, the governor's proposal, unveiled last month, institutes an individual and employer mandate with premiums for low-income residents heavily subsidized by the state, similar to legislation enacted last year in Massachusetts.

"I am very pleased to be reintroducing S.B. 840, the only truly universal and affordable health care proposal this year," Sen. Kuehl said at a press conference Tuesday.

Although the senator said she was grateful that the governor and other lawmakers recognize the need for health reform, she said her proposal remains the superior solution.

"S.B. 840 represents the gold standard for health care reform--the plan that will move California into health care solvency and security, not only for ourselves, but for the generations that will follow," Sen. Kuehl said.