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Spring break in Canada: California state senators head north to study single-payer healthcare

Some California state senators are spending their spring break up north, on a weeklong trip to Canada to study its single-payer healthcare system.

Democratic state Sens. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, Scott Wiener of San Francisco and Nancy Skinner of Berkeley traveled to the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario this week to meet with officials and experts about their government-run healthcare program.

The trip was inspired by Lara's proposal, Senate Bill 562, which would establish a single-payer system in California. 

"Through meetings with experts in government health policy, and budget and fiscal health policy, as well as health care providers, hospital administrators, non-profits and patients, the delegation hopes to identify key elements of the Canadian healthcare system which can be emulated in California," reads a mission statement for the trip filed with the Senate Rules Committee.

"The delegation will also explore the delivery of healthcare coverage to immigrants and refugees, an integral component of SB 562," the statement says.

Canada's single-payer system is paid for on the federal level and administered by the provinces. According to an itinerary, lawmakers are spending the bulk of their time in Quebec City and Toronto, the capitals of the two provinces, meeting with public health officials including Quebec's Minister of Health and Social Services, Gaétan Barrette. 

The schedule also includes a visit to Quebec's parliament and the U.S. consulate general in Quebec City.

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