Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is likely to be California’s next governor. He has a considerable lead in the polls and he has the “right” position on all the issues for progressives in the state. When it comes to healthcare, he wants to cover everyone regardless of immigration status.

Megan Keller reports at The Hill:

California gov candidate backs universal healthcare for undocumented immigrants

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who is running for governor, said in an interview released Tuesday that he would like to see the state pay for universal healthcare for all illegal immigrants.

“I did universal healthcare when I was mayor — fully implemented, regardless of pre-existing condition, ability to pay, and regardless of your immigration status,” Newsom told the podcast Pod Save America, referencing his stint as San Francisco’s mayor. “I’d like to see that extended to the rest of the state.

“San Francisco is the only universal healthcare plan for all undocumented residents in America. Very proud of that,” Newsom added, “And we proved it can be done without bankrupting the city.”

Newsom said the effort needs to be led by the “governor’s office” not the state legislature.

“The executive needs to lead it,” said Newsom.

Here’s the audio from the interview:

Not everyone in the state is on board with this idea. Robert Pearl, who is an M.D., writes at Forbes:

Will Single Payer Be The Demise Of Gov. Gavin Newsom?

This year, the rate of healthcare inflation will increase 2.2% (compared to a 1.9% increase in overall inflation), according to CMS. As a result, overall healthcare costs will rise 5.5% compared to a GDP that will increase only 3% to 4%. In other words, a healthcare system that’s already too expensive is about to get more so.

A government run, Medicare-for-all single-payer plan would be an economic nightmare. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office in California, such a system would cost more than double the state’s current budget and put taxpayers on the hook for $200 billion a year. The only way to generate the necessary funds would be for the legislators to (a) pass major tax increases on everyone, not just the wealthy or (b) strangle the state’s schools and public-safety programs.

They will do neither. Mandatory health coverage might work in a city as wealthy and progressive as San Francisco. But the plan faces too many financial obstacles to become statewide policy in California anytime soon.

Dr. Pearl is not alone in this sentiment. Angela Hart reports at the Sacramento Bee:

Doctor, hospital groups organize to oppose single-payer in California

A group of influential, deep-pocketed business and health care organizations that have long helped shape the legislative agenda in California have joined forces to oppose any future effort to craft a universal, single-payer health care system for the nation’s largest state.

The main focus of the coalition, called “Californians against the costly disruption of our health care,” is to kill any single-payer health care bill in the state Legislature, said Ned Wigglesworth, a political strategist for the coalition.

“As long as proponents plan to bring this back time and again, we think it’s important to have a strong, unified presence to oppose it,” Wigglesworth said, referring to Senate Bill 562, the 2017 single-payer bill pushed by the California Nurses Association that was shelved last year by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

This matters to you whether you live in California or not. For Newsom, the governor’s mansion is likely just a stopping point on his journey to the White House. If California goes single-payer, it will be held up as an example for the nation in 2020 and beyond.


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