$400 billion price tag for California single-payer bill

Single-payer health care for California takes the next step

Single-payer health care for California takes the next step

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A California bill that would eliminate health insurance companies and provide government-funded health coverage for everyone in the state would cost $400 billion and require significant tax increases, legislative analysts said Monday.

Let's look at the facts: California's 2017-18 budget is estimated at $180 billion.

Some of the cost could be offset by folding Medicare and Medicaid funding into the statewide system, if the Federal government will allow that to happen, the Times reported. California would have to raise an additional $200 billion in tax revenue just to pay for the Healthy California Act, although there's nothing in the bill that would create a tax that to actually raise the money to pay for the care. More than likely, this would come through payroll taxes shared by employers with employees, and could deduct as much as 15 percent of an individual worker's income. If it were to clear the Legislature and be signed by Democratic Gov. We have billions in unfunded pension and health care liabilities, a worst-in-the-nation poverty rate, long-term debt and a growing housing crisis. The committee report said that means total new spending required under the bill would be an estimated $50 billion to $100 billion a year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the cost is being labeled as the "biggest hurdle" to universal healthcare coming to California.

The rest would come from higher taxes on businesses, residents or both.

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"It's essential. If it doesn't go through appropriations, it dies", said Shana Alex Charles, faculty associate at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and an assistant professor at California State University, Fullerton.

State Sen. Bill Monning, who represents San Luis Obispo County, cast one of the votes in favor of the single-payer bill.

The California Chamber of Commerce said the costs would likely be far higher than what was projected and the taxes imposed on employers would trigger major job losses.

Single-payer advocates learned that lesson a year ago in Colorado at the ballot box, as the state turned blue for Hillary Clinton even as 79 percent of voters said "no" to single-payer health care. A recent poll commissioned by the California Association of Health Underwriters, found that 66 percent of California residents are opposed to single-payer health care.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service.

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