With numbers still coming in and some important races still too close to call, Ricardo Lara, a Democratic California state senator known for his “health for all” legislation, is likely the winner of the race for California insurance commissioner post.. The California Secretary of State reports that as of 8:36 am on November 8, 100% of the precincts have reported, and Lara has the lead over Steve Poisner by 50.8% to 49.2%
Lara, has represented California’s 33rd District in the state Senate since 2012. He has a narrow lead over Steve Poizner, a former California insurance commissioner who ran as an independent. Lara supports universal, comprehensive health coverage for all Californians.
As a state senator, Lara wrote the Health4All Kids Act. The act extended the state’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, to cover about 250,000 California children in families that have trouble documenting the children’s immigration status.
Lara later co-introduced S.B. 562, a bill that could create a single-payer health care system for California. The bill would prohibit insurers from offering traditional major medical coverage in competition with the universal health coverage program, according to a copy of the bill text. Because the proposed program would cover dental care, vision care, chiropractic care, home health care and acupuncture, the bill might also ban the sale of some kinds of supplemental health insurance products, such as dental insurance, vision insurance, alternative health care insurance, and long-term care insurance that covers home health care.
Members of the California state Senate passed S.B. 562 by a 23-14 vote on June 1, 2017. California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon declined to have the Assembly act on the bill. Rendon said the bill was incomplete, according to a statement Rendon released in June 2017.
Lara is expected to work with the incoming governor, Gavin Newsom, and the state legislature on health care. Health care came up as a top issue in polling.
Lara – who was endorsed by outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown, as well as by the Union of Health Care Professionals and the United Farm Workers of America – has also been talking about the possible effects of wildfires and climate-caused events on Californians’ health.
Lara has pledged in his campaign materials to support consumers, patients, working families and vulnerable populations. His platform also includes efforts to improve infrastructure and education.
In an official ballot statement, Lara notes that his father was a factory worker. He says his parents believed in the value of having insurance to protect their modest property. He states that, as his parents aged, “they sacrificed a little more to buy life insurance. They did it because they knew they were one accident, one fire, one burglary, one serious illness away from losing everything they had worked for.”