Walters: Newsom Slow-Rolls Single Payer Health Care Promise – GV Wire

During its 2018 campaign, the state Senate passed legislation to create a “single-payer health care system” that, in theory, would integrate and replace all other public health insurance systems and private and would integrate millions of Californians without any coverage. Newsom warmly endorsed the measure, saying there was “no reason to wait”.

“I’m tired of politicians saying they support single payer but it’s too soon, too expensive, or someone else’s problem,” Newsom said, praising the California Nurses Association , the main sponsor of the legislation.

The measure, however, contained no funding mechanism and State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon suspended the bill, saying it would be irresponsible to act without a way to pay it.

Switch to “Universal Health Care Coverage”

Once elected, Newsom continued to pretend to be a one-payer system, but never devoted political capital to its implementation. Eventually, he stopped using the term and instead adopted the expression “universal health care coverage”, which is not the same thing.

As state finances allow, Newsom has gradually added more Californians to the Medi-Cal program for health care for the poor, including blocks of undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for coverage. federally subsidized medical care, whether through Medi-Cal or the state’s version of Obamacare, dubbed California Covered.

In theory, this phased approach, if continued, could eventually extend coverage to all Californians, but it would be a big financial boost for a state budget heavily reliant on highly volatile income from personal income taxes. high income taxpayers.

When examining the 2017 single-payer bill, it was estimated that providing comprehensive medical coverage to 40 million Californians would cost $ 400 billion a year and that simple inflation would likely bring that amount to $ 450 billion. today.

A practically impossible goal

The biggest hurdle would be persuading the federal government, which currently pays about half of Californians’ health care costs through Medicare, Medi-Cal, Obamacare, and federal and military member coverage, to redirect that money back to the city. ‘State.

Even if the federal government intervenes, which is highly unlikely, the state would have to absorb local government health spending and money currently paid by private employers, and then raise enough new taxes to close the remaining gap. The gap was estimated at $ 100 billion in 2017; it is surely bigger now.

The bottom line is that even in a state as blue as California and with a lawyer in the governor’s office, single-payer health care is a nearly impossible goal – hence the nomenclature change to “universal health coverage.” health ”and the change in tactics from“ no reason to wait ”to year-over-year incrementalism.

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