$400 billion price tag for California single-payer bill

Single-payer health care for California takes the next step

While existing federal, state and local funding would amount to about $200 billion to offset part of the total cost, the report said, Californians would be on the hook for around $200 billion in additional tax revenues to make up the balance. But now the Legislature wants to consider a 200 percent increase in the state budget. The analysis of the health care proposal presented to lawmakers on Monday suggests a 15 percent increase to the state's payroll tax to provide the necessary revenue.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

The major test for any effort to create a single-payer health care system is how to pay for it. California now knows the math it's contending with. "How can you say this will be fiscally prudent for the state?"

A proposed single-payer health system in California would cost about $400 billion annually, with up to half of that money coming from a new payroll tax on workers and employers, according to a state analysis. "The state has never gotten anything right in healthcare". As Vox details, "the state would pay for nearly all of its residents' medical expenses-inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health, and nursing home care-and Californians would not have any premiums, copays, or deductibles".

One tiny, insignificant detail: there's no way the state can afford this.

Single-payer health care for California takes the next step
Healthy California Act annual price tag: $400 billion

But with a national backlash growing against what is seen as the Trump administration move to create budget room to give wealthy Americans another tax break, both the budget and the House health care plan aren't likely to make it through the Senate without severe corrections. That's not necessarily better, but it would offer something of a solution to the problem of how to pay for a hugely expensive new entitlement.

During the convention, the leading Democratic hopeful, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, embraced the leftist agenda, including free community college educations. Jerry Brown is leery. Colorado voters rejected a ballot measure previous year that would have used payroll taxes to fund a near-universal coverage system.

Other polling bears out that relationship.

When free health care provided by the state government isn't free, it's a much more hard sell.

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