Villaraigosa challenges Newsom to debate single payer

One of the defining issues of the gubernatorial race is likely to be single payer. Earlier this week, Antonio Villaraigosa challenged Gavin Newsom to debate Senate Bill 562, The Healthy California Act, which got Speaker Anthony Rendon in hot water with the bill’s main supporters the California Nurses Association after shelving the bill last year.

Villaraigosa challenged Newsom to debate the specifics of a single state-run health insurance system:

“I challenge Gavin Newsom to debate the actual details of SB562. Enough with the slogans – it’s time to show real leadership and have a serious in-depth discussion.

“I’m offering him the opportunity to explain in detail how he plans to fund this new policy estimated to cost $400 billion and increase taxes by $200 billion. He should detail how he will persuade Donald Trump and a Republican Congress to grant California the necessary waivers for it to become a reality. He can explain to seniors that rely on life-saving Medicare, how SB562 will force them into a new state-run system.

“I have a record of supporting universal healthcare. As Assembly Speaker, I authored the Healthy Families program that provided healthcare coverage to 750,000 uninsured Californians. We passed it because it was sound policy.

“Newsom calls any attempt to demand details of his $200 billion tax increase and plan to force seniors off of Medicare as ‘defeatist.’ I call refusing to say how you will successfully persuade Californians to more than double their taxes while taking away their Medicare simply deceptive.

“I’m proud to stand with medical and policy leaders including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, the California Medical Association, the California Association of Nurse Practitioners, the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the California Psychiatric Association in opposing SB 562.”

Newsom previously pledged support for SB 562 at a California Nurses Association event in September of last year.

 “There’s no reason to wait around on universal healthcare and single-payer in California,” said Newsom.  “It’s time to move 562. It’s time to get it out of committee…

If we can’t get it done next year, you have my firm and absolute commitment as your next governor that I will lead the effort to get it done. We will have universal healthcare in the state of California.”

Following Villaraigosa’s statement challenging Newsom to a debate, the California Nurses Association tweeted: