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Replacement for Affordable Care Act Introduced

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SACRAMENTO -- A rally was held by proponents of a bill that would create a one payer health care system in response to the expected dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. Participants included nurses and health care unions, patients and health care advocates.

Bill co-author Senator Toni Atkins of San Diego says Californians shouldn’t have Washington dictate how healthcare is provided to its citizens. She says now that Californians have had a taste of the Affordable Care Act, even more can be done to make sure every citizen has access to health care.

A one-payer system has employees and employers pay into a medical fund to pay medical bills instead of having insurance companies pay bills. Proponents say 25 cents of every health care dollar goes to insurance company costs and profits.

Atkins admits it will be a tough task to get her bill through the legislature. The same arguments about the evils of socialized medicine and the possibility of substandard health care delivery that plagued the Affordable Care Act will still be a concern.

A universal healthcare bill was passed by the legislature in 2006 after a massive and complex compromise was negotiated with health care advocates and big money players in health care including doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and drug interests.

Almost no one embraced the compromise in its entirety and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it. Atkins says she hopes things will be different now.

“We don’t want to go back,” said Atkins.