This morning State Senator Tony Strickland proposed Senate Constitutional Amendment 29, which if passed will require voter approval of any state or federal measure implementing a healthcare program that:
- Requires individuals to obtain health coverage;
- Requires individuals to guarantee issuance of health coverage;
- Creates a "pay or play" system for employers;
- Creates a government entity to compete with private plans;
- Creates a single-payer healthcare system.
According to Strickland's office, the amendment would affect any healthcare program containing at least one of those provisions created after January 1, 2010.
"This measure will ensure voters have a voice in the healthcare debate rather than allowing out-of-touch politicians to make costly and ineffective decisions regarding something as personal as the choice of a family doctor," said Senator Strickland, whose district includes portions of Santa Clarita. "Polls have consistently shown voters want a healthcare system that addresses their concerns over cost, access, and quality. This does not mean they are asking for another government bureaucracy."
Strickland was joined in the unveiling by Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and John Graham, Director of Healthcare Studies at the Pacific Research Institute.
Coupal stated, "It is clear the single-payer health care program advanced by the Obama administration will add to California's already massive $20 billion budget deficit without increasing the level of care provided by private health insurers. Individual mandates and guarantee issue coverage will only increase the cost of providing care and place a greater burden on small business to provide coverage. Especially with the private sector suffering and 2.3 million Californians out of work, the ability for a state to opt out of programs like ObamaCare seems both wise and warranted."
Last month, the California State Senate passed a single-payer healthcare bill sponsored by Mark Leno (D) San Francisco. The bill faced certain veto by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; however Leno told KHTS that he would pursue the issue further, including possibly bringing it before voters. Read more on Leno's take on the single-payer system by clicking here .
Strickland's amendment would not prohibit any healthcare laws from being passed in Sacramento; however it would require voter approval before being enacted if the laws include any of the above mentioned features.
"At a time when California is facing a $20 billion deficit, its citizens should have the ability to stop legislators who aren't listening to them, and prevent the creation of a $200 billion healthcare program that has no funding source and will harm job growth. We need to focus on restoring the economy and creating jobs rather than spending money we don't have on programs that won't work," said Strickland.
SCA 29 now awaits referral by the Senate Rules Committee. If passed by both houses of the state legislature and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, the measure would then be placed on a ballot for final voter approval. If the measure fails to pass through the legislature, Senator Strickland's office is considering taking the issue out of Sacramento entirely and attempting to gather the required number of signatures to be placed on the ballot.