This article was originally published in Partisan issue no. 24, printed November 2007.

Note: The bill referred to in this article (SB 840) is now SB 810 and is being carried by Sen. Mark Leno (San Francisco)

The proposed California Health Security Initiative was endorsed by the Peace and Freedom Party State Central Committee at its November meeting in Fresno. Full text of the initiative can be seen at on the internet. Petitioning is expected to begin in early December, with 694,354 signatures needed.

These are some of the frequently asked questions answered on the website.

Q. - Is this Initiative a constitutional amendment or a change of statute

A. - Constitutional amendment

Q.- How many signatures are needed to qualify for the ballot?

A. - 694,354.

Q.- How long will we have to collect signatures?

A.- 150 days from the date the Initiative is approved for circulation by the Attorney General.

Q. - Is there a conflict between the provisions of the California Health Security Plan and SB 840?

A.- No. The CHSP puts the principles of equal care for all into the State constitution, while Senate Bill 840 is proposed to enact the details that do not belong in the constitution. In its current form a few provisions of SB 840, such as the possibility of copayments and deductibles at some future date, would have to be amended out.

Q. - Does the California Health Security Plan rely on the same financing sources as SB 840?

A. - SB 840 does not specify fi nancing. That job is left to a companion bill that has hardly begun its journey through the legislature.

Q. - Should I work for an initiative to pass the California Health Security Plan instead of working for SB 840?

A. - There is no need to choose. Putting the CHSP into our constitution will advance the single payer movement. SB 840 or a similar bill is needed to enact the details. (Some answers have been shortened for reasons of space.).

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