Newsom signs bill advancing universal health care, vetoes insulin price cap

On Saturday Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the approval of Senate Bill 770, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The legislation advances tangible steps toward securing universal health coverage in California. It would direct the California Health and Human Services Agency (HHS) to work with the federal government to outline the requirements of a federal waiver application.   

According to a press release, all California residents will be entitled to receive a standard package of health care services.   

The package could include long-term care support and services, which would relieve huge and growing burdens that are falling on millions of families.  

Entitlement will not vary by age, employment status, disability status, income, immigration status or other characteristics.   

Additionally, distinctions among Medicare, Medi-Cal, employer-sponsored insurance and individual market coverage will be eliminated within the system of unified financing.   

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Conversely, the governor vetoed Wiener's Senate Bill 90, which caps the cost of insulin at $35 per month. The bill had previously passed the Assembly 79-0 and passed the Senate on 39-0.   

"This is a missed opportunity that will force them to wait months or years for relief from the skyrocketing costs of medical care when they could have had it immediately," commented Wiener. "We will continue to fight for straightforward, fast-acting measures to lower the costs of essential healthcare, including insulin."   

The price of insulin has tripled over the past decade, and as a result, one in four people requiring insulin do not dose the necessary amount because they can't afford the full dose.