Health Care for All California has a comprehensive and illustrated document called the “History of California Single Payer Legislation & Movement: 1997 – 2023” (updated June 28, 2023), prepared by long-time HCA leader, Dan Hodges.
My history of single payer legislation in California begins in 1997, even though there were single payer bills introduced in the early 1990s, before the failed single payer ballot initiative (Prop. 186) in 1994. The reason for this start-date is that there was discontinuity between the efforts for single payer in the early ‘90s and the one that was launched in the late ‘90s. For example, there was no consistent (much less sizeable) grassroots single payer movement for the legislation in the early ‘90s. As this history describes, such a movement only developed after the late ‘90s. That is, the campaign that began in the late ‘90s has continued to the present day. There may not always have been a single payer bill active in the state legislature every year since 1998, but there has been a continuous pro-single payer movement since then. Similarly, there may have been changes in the names and structures of pro-single payer coalitions over the years, but there has been consistency of membership by many organizations in whatever was the current coalition, as well as new organizations continually joining. Accordingly, this history isn’t only about single payer bills, it is also about California’s single payer movement. I began it in 2006, and I have updated it ever since. As new key events occur, I will continue to revise it.