Would you put the DMV in charge of your health care? Or how about California’s Employment Development Office, which during the worst months of the pandemic lost $20 billion to fraud, while denying benefits to millions suffering from losing their jobs?
That’s what Sacramento Democrats want to do with the state’s health-care system. Assembly Bill 1400 is sponsored by Assemblyman Ash Kalra, D-San Jose. It’s called single-payer universal health care. “Single-Payer” means the state government takes over the whole shebang.
On Tuesday, it passed the Assembly Health Committee, 11-3-1 It’s well on its way to being jabbed into the state’s medical blood system.
Kalra celebrated the passage of what he calls CalCare by enthusing, “As the single-payer movement continues to gain momentum, we signal to corporate interests that enough is enough; healthcare is a human right and it’s high time we reform our broken healthcare system.”
“Corporate interests” means the insurance, hospital and drug companies that compete to take care of you. Sure, reforms are needed – to get rid of the previous dumb laws the Legislature passed like banning you from contracting with a competing insurance company from another state.
And get this from the legislation’s wording: “The bill would require [the state] to seek all necessary waivers, approvals, and agreements to allow various existing federal health care payments to be paid to CalCare.”
That means they would take over care currently provided by Medicare. This means that seniors have paid into Medicare their whole lives would have their program ended and the money will be used to pay for people who might never have paid a cent into the system.
But what if a retiree or veteran moves to another state? How would Medicare and VA benefits be re-started? What a mess.
Then there’s the immense cost. The California Taxpayers Association pegs it at $163 billion a year in new taxes. The University of California Labor Center estimates it’s $222 billion. But the whole state general-fund budget for 2022-23 Gov. Gavin Newsom just submitted would be a record $213 billion. So CalCare could more than double the state budget!
And where does the money come from? Look in the mirror. The Wall Street Journal Reported, “Employers with 50 or more workers would also pay a 1.25% payroll tax, which would be passed onto workers. Workers earning more than $49,900 would pay an additional 1% payroll tax.” The state income tax rate on the middle-class, already 9.3 percent, would rise to 11.55 percent – “more than millionaires pay in every state but New York.”
And that’s just one of numerous tax increases in the bill.
Newsom supported a government-run health care scheme when he ran for governor in 2018, but has shied away from it since. Still, his new budget would cover what he called “universal access to health care” – mainly by giving complete coverage to illegal immigrants, something many Californians oppose.
The fact is few people in California currently are denied health care. Covered California, the state’s iteration of Obamacare, is mandatory for almost every working person who doesn’t have company-provided insurance. Medi-Cal covers the poor. And anyone who walks into an emergency room is mandated coverage by law.
Most people are happy with their current plans. That includes union members with contracts guaranteeing robust health insurance.
Kalra has praised the socialized medicine scheme of Canada, where he spent time as a child. But according to a 2020 study by the Fraser Institute, “Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 22.6 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment.” That’s almost half a year to see a specialist. These are the same wait times that may have been responsible for the deaths of up to 63,000 Canadian woman. No, thanks.
Even President Biden opposed single-payer schemes when he beat socialist Bernie Sanders, who campaigned on single-payer, in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Coming on top of inflation, the excessive Newsom COVID lockdowns and such boondoggles as the bullet train, we just can’t afford AB 1400. Single-payer insurance would inject poison into California’s medical system. The patient – California’s citizens – must say no.
Laurie Davies represents the 73rd District in the California Assembly