The bill had to be passed by midnight on Monday to have a chance of becoming law this year. But she did not come up for a vote after Democratic writer Ash Clara, a member of the Assembly, realized she would not pass.
“It became clear that we did not have the votes needed to pass, and I decided the best course of action was not to put the AB 1400 to a vote today,” Kalra said.
While the measure would have created a universal healthcare system and set its rules, it did not say how much that system would cost or how the government would pay for it. Democrats have introduced yet another bill that would impose massive new taxes on businesses and individuals, hoping to separate the two issues.
However, costs dominated the debate over the bill. A study of the 2017 proposal in California estimated it would cost $331 billion, about $356 billion today when adjusted for inflation.
But California is on track to spend about $517 billion on health care in 2022, according to an analysis by a commission set up by Governor Gavin Newsom to study universal health care. The bulk of that comes from employers and families, followed by the federal government.
California’s total operating budget — which pays for public schools, courts, roads, bridges and other important services — is nearly $262 billion this year.
The California Nurses Association, which has lobbied for the legislation for years, condemned the decision not to call a vote on the bill, saying it provided “a cover for those who would have had to go to records about their guaranteed health care for all people in California.”
“Nurses are especially angry because Clara chose to simply abandon patients across the state. Nurses never give up on our patients, and we will continue to fight with our allies in the grassroots movement,” the association said in a press release.
Assembly President Anthony Rendon, a Lakewood Democrat, said he was “deeply disappointed” Calra decided not to call a vote on the bill.
“Over time, we will have better and more successful legislation to bring us closer to that goal,” Rendon said. “I expect more and more of my colleagues to sign, so we can make California a leader in healthcare justice.”
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