For Democratic legislators, the politics of the single payer health care plan is tricky. They have to satisfy the most activist members of their party who support the concept without putting forward a complex scheme that would break the state bank and jeopardize spending on other budget priorities. But legislators have a way to cover their bases–satisfy activists and still avert fiscal and policy mayhem–and they know it.

When it comes to the single payer law, Governor Jerry Brown serves a similar  role as legendary Boston Celtics center and defensive ace Bill Russell did on the basketball court. Celtic players could take a risk, even make foolish gambles to stop opponents, for they knew if their opponent got by them Russell was there to swat away the ball or intimidate an opposing player into making a bad shot. 

Simply put, Democratic legislators can play the same aggressive game as those old Celtics teams. They can vote for Senate Bill 562, that proposes that the state cover all medical costs, knowing that because of the enormous cost and uncertainties involved with the legislation, Governor Brown will swat it aside with his veto pen.

Therefore, legislators can report back to avid supporters of single payer that they voted for the bill but the state would be saved from the difficulties the bill would engender when it fails to become law with a gubernatorial veto if it clears the legislature.

That’s how many senate Democrats played the game when they moved the bill out of the house of origin when it was only half-baked, if that, and with no funding mechanism attached.

Let’s see if assembly Democrats follow the same game plan.