As if being a “Sanctuary State” isn’t bad enough, California is posed to become a “Single Payer” state for healthcare!

Senate Bill 562, the Healthy California Act, promises to create universal health care in the state. It easily passed its first major legislative hurdle last week, clearing the state senate committee.

The bill would establish a publicly run health plan that would cover everyone living in California — all 39 million of us — regardless of immigration status. Co-authored by San Francisco’s own, state Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember David Chiu (among others), the proposal would pay for all medical expenses, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health, substance abuse treatment, acupuncture and chiropractic care.

Under the proposed plan, everyone would be covered, from undocumented residents to Medicare and Medicaid recipients to employees who currently get their health insurance through work. The plan is truly free of charge — no co-pays or deductibles. And you will be able to choose your doctor from a huge list of providers, rather than an insurer’s network.

The steep price tag and likely budgetary consequences are already causing great concern among reasonable Californians.

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council that represents many of the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest employers, has this analysis:

…California’s current system relies in large part on employer-sponsored insurance, which is still the source of health care coverage for tens of millions of people. That coverage would disappear under SB 562. Instead of receiving coverage financed by their employers, working Californians would see a tax increase of well over $10,000 per year for many middle-income families.

For some Californians, this will be less than they are paying out of pocket for health insurance. For many it would be more. All, however, could see health spending in the state budget swell toward the state’s total health spending of $250 billion per year, crowding out essential investments that are also critical to the health of Californians, such as funding for education and transportation. Spending less would mean cutting the pay of nurses, doctors and other health care professionals by at least 50 percent.

This move will mean that organizations such as the California Tea Party groups will be mobilizing in 2018 with the aim of eliminating the Democratic Party’s super-majority in the Assembly and Senate, as this measure (or some misguided variation) will require a 2/3rds majority in order to proceed.

“From what I’ve read, the program would be administered by a nine-member board, appointed by the governor and legislature, with an advisory committee, so it’s got the death panel built right in,” said Dawn Wildman, leading organizer with the California Tea Party Groups. “Our legislators seem to think they won’t fail, like other states have, at implementing single payer. “

Legal Insurrection readers will recall that the Vermont single-payer system failed. A postmortem concluded there were six reasons for the implosion.

1) The state insisted on platinum-level coverage.
2) There was no clear understanding from where, exactly, the funds would be coming.
3) Implementing the plan would have meant a 160 percent tax increase.
4) Hospitals and insurance companies were willing to fight the plan.
5) Promised “savings” weren’t materializing.
6) In order to fully be “Single Payer”, waivers from the federal government for Medicaid and Medicare would be needed.

Plainly, California won’t fail like Vermont. It will fail far more spectacularly if it proceeds.

The bill next goes before the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 26.



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