Welcome to the world of healthcare. With Obamacare on life support and the GOP haggling over its replacement, my home state is going through the motions of implementing a competing program of its own. Under the title Healthy California Act, State Senators Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, are the sponsors of California Senate Bill 562, described as a single-payer healthcare system. The proposed law’s intent is to provide free unlimited medical service to everyone, documented or otherwise, residing in the state.
To put matters in perspective, you should be aware a recent report by Elizabeth G. Hill, Legislative Analyst for Senator Lara’s Appropriation Committee, sets the anticipated annual cost of the Healthy California Act as proposed to be $400 billion. Of that, $200 billion will come from existing federal, state and local funding for healthcare; the remaining $200 billion must be raised from higher taxes. You might note Hill’s analysis proposes one scenario wherein a new payroll tax of 15% on earned income, to be extracted from all employers, supplies the needed funds. In any event, inasmuch as the entire California 2017-18 budget submitted by Governor Jerry Brown on January 10th, including his Rainy Day Fund, totaled only $123 billion, you may wonder how enactment of SB 562 might affect the state’s economy.
Rather than contemplate how Healthy California Act would decimate California, I’ll conclude this on an encouraging note. Because of the obvious flaws built into the proposed legislation, as well as the massive costs designed to bankrupt the state, it’s unlikely SB 562 will ever become law. I’ll go further in my prediction. I’m convinced if Senators Lara and Atkins even suspected the Healthy California Act ran the risk of enactment, they’d withdraw the bill at once. I’m certain their intent is nothing more than romancing their constituents with a grandiose program for the notoriety it brings them.
On the matter of government-enacted programs which pass benefits on to persons at little or no cost to the recipients, I’ll leave you with a final thought. The ancient adage is remarkably accurate: You’ll never know how unaffordable something can become until it’s absolutely free.