The  History of  the California Single Payer Movement

Following the 1994 defeat of Prop.186, a single-payer ballot initiative, activists met and agreed to create a “dedicated single-payer organization.” In 1996 Health Care for All -California (HCA-CA) was established and chapters were formed across the State.


This movement led to introduction of a single-payer bill, which failed to pass. In 1999, SB 480, a state-sponsored study of ways to achieve universal health care, passed the legislature and was signed by Gov. Gray Davis. Also, HCA-CA launched its website (


In 2000, California received federal funding ($1.2 million) for a Health Care Options Project. Three single payer and six incremental proposals were analyzed. In 2002, the analysts concluded that the single-payer plans were the most cost-efficient, while providing universal coverage with the best benefits and the highest health quality outcomes. Here are links to the report on the nine HCOP proposalsthe Lewin Group analysis, and the AZA Consulting analysis.


Subsequent to that time, after the failure of SB 921, single-payer legislation, SB 840 passed the legislature in 2006 and 2008, only to be vetoed both times by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


After the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, subsequent bills have not passed – Sen. Mark Leno’s SB 810 (2009, 2011); Sen. Lara Sen. Toni Atkins’ SB 562 (2017). For more information, read the “History of California Single Payer Legislation: 1997-2020“. This is a comprehensive illustrated history of the grassroots movement to enact a single-payer bill in California, prepared by Dan Hodges.


Health Care for All – Los Angeles (HCA-LA) is dedicated to achieving a universal health care system through single-payer public financing. Our goal is that all California residents will have comprehensive, high quality health care.


Health Care for All – Los Angeles
Phone:(424) 272-5549


We appreciate your support for Health Care for All-Los Angeles and the Single Payer Movement. Your donation helps our ongoing work to guarantee comprehensive,  high-quality health care as a human right and lead in the larger fight for health care justice.