California lawmakers have once again introduced a universal health care bill after unsuccessful attempts in the past.

The bill’s latest iteration, formally known as AB 2200, would establish the framework for a single-payer, state-run coverage system called CalCare to control health care costs for all Californians. California to become first state to offer health insurance to all undocumented adults

“The bill, among other things, would provide that CalCare cover a wide range of medical benefits and other services and would incorporate the health care benefits and standards of other existing federal and state provisions, including the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medi-Cal, ancillary health care or social services covered by regional centers for persons with developmental disabilities, Knox-Keene, and the federal Medicare,” according to the bill’s text.

While the idea seems good on paper, in the past, previous versions of the bill have faced pushback mainly due to its expensive price tag. Legislative analysts have previously estimated it could cost between $494 billion and $552 billion to fund the program.

The high price tag was one reason a similar CalCare bill couldn’t garner enough support to pass in 2022


How many times did California lawmakers introduce a universal healthcare bill? The article suggest it was done several times, and they were all unsuccessful, but I was wondering how many times they tried to introduce a universal healthcare bill. I tried to find an answer on Google, but there's nothing to be found.

  • The budget estimate seems high. The total national Medicare budget is $747 million and the per capita cost of Medicare beneficiaries (due to their advanced age on a average) is about six times as high as members of the general population. Medicaid (including CHIP) is about $806 billion annually but covers nursing homes in addition to medical care. California is about 10% of the U.S. population.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 10 at 20:38
  • 1
    @ohwilleke I wonder if it's on the basis of a 5 or 10 year budget impact projection? Those are not infrequent. Per year, it does seem rather high. Medicare @ $747 million? -> $839 billion Commented May 10 at 20:57
  • A typo. Should have been billion. The quantities between our cites estimates probably just reflect different budget years.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented May 10 at 20:59
  • If you really really wanted to figure this out, start out with coverage of the latest proposal. Some articles will give the ID of previous iterations, at a previous time. Look for coverage of those predecessors and repeat the process. That said, Google search has been getting less and less reliable lately. Bing occasionally performs better, but has a brain dead UI for entering from/to date ranges which are key on this type of search. Commented May 10 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


There were nine attempts to implement single-payer. The first attempt was by initiative. The remaining eight were by the legislature.

The California Single-Payer Movement

California Legislative History

  • California Proposition 186, Single-Payer Healthcare System Initiative (1994) failed to pass

  • SB 921 in 2003 failed to advance

  • SB 840 in 2006 and 2008 vetoed

  • SB 810 (2009, 2011), SB 562 (2017), and AB 1400 (2022), failed to advance

  • AB 2200 in 2024

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