There’s been a lot of noise over the last week in response to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s decision to hold SB 562, a bill to create a single-payer health care system in California.
But San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins, co-author of the bill, hasn’t been among the voices decrying the decision.
National Democrats who support Sen. Bernie Sanders and protesters in California led by the California Nurses Association have expressed outrage and taken part in rowdy demonstrations in response to Rendon’s move.
Atkins, though, has only made two public statements, both tepid. She signed on to a joint statement with Sen. Ricardo Lara, the bill’s other author, and she told the Sacramento Bee that she doesn’t fault Rendon for his move because “I have been in his shoes” as Assembly speaker.
Rendon’s – and most observers’ – main beef with the bill was that it didn’t establish how the state would pay the $400 billion price tag. (Atkins’ staff has pointed out the state already spends hundreds of billions on health care.)
“Nor did Lara or Atkins ever explain how California could get around a powerful federal law regulating health insurance — a law the RAND think tank recently warned would pose major hurdles for Oregon if it tried to implement single-payer,” noted the Union-Tribune editorial board.