California Senate passes single-payer health care bill

The level of dumbassery in California politics knows no bounds.

By a vote of 23 to 14 (with three abstentions), the California Senate passed a bill that would set up a single-payer health care in the state.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Lara’s bill would provide a Medicare-for-all-type system that he believed would guarantee health coverage for all Californians without the out-of-pocket costs. Under a single-payer plan, the government replaces private insurance companies, paying doctors and hospitals for healthcare.

There’s only one minor problem with the bill.

No one knows how the hell to pay for it.

Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), one of the key sponsors of the bill, admits that the bill will have to be “further developed”, and he hopes that a consensus will emerge on how to pay for it.

Lara proposed the bill while President Trump and Congressional Republicans are working to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“Despite the incredible progress California has made, millions still do not have access to health insurance and millions more cannot afford the high deductibles and co-pays, and they often forgo care,” Lara said during a floor debate on the bill.

In other words, the bill is virtue signaling writ large.

The Times has analyzed the various ways single-payer health care could be financed; none of the options look pretty. While a portion of the funds could come from existing federal and state sources such as Medicare and Medi-cal, it would require additional taxation. Among the tax proposals include a 2.3% business receipts tax and an additional 2.3% sales tax, or a 15% payroll tax.

Health Care

Such massive taxes would supposedly pay for a program that is twice the size of the current state budget.

“We don’t have the money to pay for it,” Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) said. “If we cut every single program and expense from the state budget and redirected that money to this bill, SB 562, we wouldn’t even cover half of the $400-billion price tag.”

Fortunately, even if the state Assembly were to pass the bill, there are several significant roadblocks preventing the bill from being implemented.

Even if the bill is approved, it has to go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been skeptical, and then voters would have to exempt it from spending limits and budget formulas in the state Constitution. In addition, the state would have to get federal approval to repurpose existing funds for Medicare and Medicaid.

Nevertheless, such impediments should not discount the reckelessness with which Democratic leaders are pursuing this bill. State finances are fragile enough as they are, given the state’s huge debt load and weak pension plans for teachers and other government employees.

However, such a bill would truly take the state down the road to Venezuela. The fact that state leaders are even considering such a brazen move simply shows how out of touch they are.

Fortunately, a backlash is beginning to brew within the state. I’ll address that in an upcoming post.