Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, discusses his bill that would pay for the universal health care bill, during a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. Kalra's universal health care bill stalled last year, in part because there was no plan to pay for it. On Thursday Kalra unveiled a second bill that would raise taxes on some business and individuals to pay for it. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

(CALMATTERS) – Tuesday was a big day for the Assembly Health Committee, which pushed forward three controversial bills that failed to advance last year. They now face a Jan. 31 deadline to pass the Assembly — at which point the state Senate would take them up for consideration. They include:

  • A proposal to create a state-funded single-payer health care system called CalCare, though some Democratic lawmakers only approved it grudgingly and said they wouldn’t vote for it on the Assembly floor unless certain questions get answered before then. (They also have yet to consider a separate bill that would pay for the program with a series of tax hikes.) Meanwhile, Newsom traveled to Fresno to promote his own health care plan, which would expand access to Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for low-income Californians, to all eligible residents regardless of immigration status. The two events, scheduled within hours of each other, suggest that Newsom and Democratic lawmakers could be primed for a health care collision course this year.
  • A proposal that would allow the city and county of Los Angeles, Oakland and the city and county of San Francisco to launch supervised drug injection sites, where staff would be on hand to prevent opioid users from overdosing.
  • And a proposal that would rewrite state licensing rules for nursing homes in the wake of an investigation from CalMatters’ Jocelyn Wiener that spotlighted an opaque licensing process plagued by indecision, delays and misleading information. Jocelyn found that the California Department of Public Health has allowed the state’s largest nursing home owner, Shlomo Rechnitz, to operate facilities for years through a web of companies even as their license applications languish in “pending” status — or were outright denied.