(08-29) 04:00 pdt sacramento
-- the democratic-controlled legislature is on the verge of sending gov. arnold schwarzenegger a bill that would create a state-run universal health care system
, testing him on an issue that voters rate as one of their top concerns in this election year.
on a largely party-line 43-30 vote, the assembly approved a bill by state sen. sheila kuehl, d-santa monica, that would eliminate private medical insurance plans and establish a statewide health insurance system that would provide coverage to all californians. the state senate has already approved the plan once and is expected this week to approve changes that the assembly made to the bill.
schwarzenegger has said he opposes a single-payer plan like the one kuehl's bill would create, but the governor has not offered his own alternatives for fixing the state's health care system. as many as 7 million people are uninsured in the state, and spiraling costs have put pressure on business and consumers.
"we know the health care in place today is teetering on collapse," said assembly speaker fabian núñez, d-los angeles. "we need to do something to improve it, to reform it, and this is what we are bringing to the table."