Green Party of California


For immediate release: May 19, 2003

Beth Moore Haines, GPCA Spokesperson, 530-277-0610,
Ross Mirkarimi, GPCA Spokesperson, 415-412-7526,
John Strawn, GPCA Spokesperson, 805-689-2840,

LOS ANGELES -- The Green Party of California (GPCA) has announced its support in concept of SB 921, the Health Care for All Californians Act, introduced by State Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica).

"Probably no other legislation this year more positively affects working families in California," says Santa Monica Mayor pro tem Kevin McKeown, who gained endorsement for SB 921 from both his own City Council and the Green Party state Coordinating Committee. "Medical insurance costs are a big part of the budget crisis facing local government, and Sheila Kuehl has proposed a visionary plan to make health care both affordable and universal."

The plan features a simple and efficient claims and reimbursement system administered by the state of California and overseen by an elected Commissioner. The newly established California Health Care System (CHCS) makes all California residents eligible for specified health care benefits. The CHCS will negotiate fees on a single-payer basis for health services provided through it and pay claims for those services. The bill bans deductibles and co-payments for the first 2 years, but authorizes the commissioner to establish deductibles and co-payments thereafter.

"People are skeptical when told that every Californian can have health coverage without raising taxes one penny," says Coby Skye, Green Party organizer and member of the South Bay/Long Beach chapter of Health Care for All. "SB 921 makes that happen, and without 'socializing' medicine."

An independent economic consulting firm found the single-payer plan the best of nine health care systems it studied. Every resident is covered at no new cost to taxpayers, with the savings in administrative and emergency services alone. The plan also allows consumers to choose their primary care physicians.

Our current system spends between 20-30% of healthcare dollars on administrative costs. Under the single payer system, administrative costs are reduced to 5%, saving $14 billion dollars to be redirected into health services for all Californians. That amount is more than enough to provide health insurance coverage to all who are currently uninsured. Additionally, the single payer system lowers the cost of pharmaceuticals through bulk purchasing.

The plan covers medical, dental, optical, mental health, prescription drugs and other services. It will return healthcare decision making to medical providers and consumers through the creation of the Healthcare Fund, the Best Medical Practices Board, a Health Policy Board, Regional Health Agencies, an Office of Consumer Advocacy, and an Office of Medical Practice Standards.

The GPCA joins a long list of supporters of SB 921 including the California Nurses Association, California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The short list of those in opposition is composed mostly of giant HMOs, Chambers of Commerce and insurance companies, who stand to suffer the loss of profits unfairly gained under the current system.

Sara Rogers, Legislative Aide
Office of Senator Sheila Kuehl

The Green Party of California
P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812
Phone: (916) 448-3437