A single payer health care system is the Holy Grail for progressive Californians. But is it realistic or just a pipedream? We put the question to our experts.
Will California ever implement single payer health care?
“Not in our lifetime. The billions in costs will crush the state budget, and “undoing” the current system is like putting toothpaste back into the tube. If they couldn’t get it done with the promise-breaking Newsom, it isn’t going to happen at all, other than a feel-good bill in the legislature.”
“Why? We already have Obamacare.”
“Nope. Can someone please give Legislators the memo? Hot tip: California should make it mandatory to use federal Obamacare benefits (we’re all paying into them!) and then look at health outcomes instead of jockeying for more change.”
“No, it’s a fevered pipe dream. It would be a nightmare for the state to administer — and if one takes a quick glance at how the state can’t even efficiently or competently administer the EDD (billions stolen), how would it manage the healthcare of every single Californian? The proponents also disingenuously imply that “Medicare-for-all” would somehow constitute free healthcare paid for entirely by taxes. That isn’t even how Medicare works for current recipients, as anyone who is on Medicare knows. Part A is free, but there is a monthly premium for Part B, a monthly premium for Part D, and most recipients have a private supplemental plan to pay for what Parts A and B don’t — also requiring a monthly premium. The whole concept the way it’s pitched is a scam.”
“In the Golden State, anything is possible – Let’s add it to the reparations package and bullet train. We can pay for it by putting a tax on one-way U-Haul truck rentals, with all the people leaving California that should pay for it.”
“Will anyone? “Ever” is a long, long time. Never happen as long as the medical-industrial complex comes out the loser.”
“Not in my lifetime.”
“No Not in its purest sense . Covered CA may expand more. Too expensive.”
“The cynical view is single payer is the health system of the future and always will be. But the profit centered care we have now is under-performing when it comes to cost and health outcomes. Eventually, we’ll have to sideline the cynics and validate the visionaries.”
“When pigs fly. The state general fund could never support the cost, with 40% plus off the top required for K-12 education funding. Talk is to appease the progressive left, but this can only be a federal issue.”
“Single payer is already here. Ask the 13 million Medi-Cal recipients how it’s working for them.”
“Short answer: Not any time soon and not without tax reform. Longer: The LAO has estimated single-payer could cost California between $314 billion and $391 billion annually, which would need to be financed by a combination of tax hikes on businesses, workers and high earners – all things the Governor himself has spoken against at one time or another. With billions wasted a year in long-standing corporate tax credits that have been on the books longer than some legislators have been alive, the money could come from tax reform. But, the legislature currently lacks the stomach to go this route. Any attempt to finance single payer without tax reform could possibly undermine Prop 98 funds for education and other essential public services, which organized labor would oppose. The money has to come from somewhere and right now, single payer doesn’t have the votes.”
The people from whom we solicited opinions: Elizabeth Ashford, Hector Barajas, A.G. Block, Barry Brokaw, Samantha Corbin, Jon Costantino, Richard Costigan, Tim Foster, Rex Frazier, John Howard, Fiona Hutton, Gale Kaufman, Steven Maviglio, Mike MeCey, Paul Mitchell, Barbara O’Connor, Jack Ohman, Kassy Perry, Garry South, Paula Treat, Bill Wong, Daniel Zingale