California Fails to Pass Progressive Health Care Reform…Are You Watching Bernie?

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California lawmakers just tried to do in their state what U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has been trying to get accomplished nationwide. Sanders has not been able to move forward with a government takeover of America’s health care system. So California tried to impose such a move on their state. It would have put an end to private health insurance and forced Medicare participants into a new system as an experiment. Basically, the state government would have been in charge of California’s health care. 

The proposal was called CalCare, and it did not get enough votes from the state’s citizens. So now CalCare has been forced to go back to the drawing board. The whole process served as a wake-up call, especially Californians who want to hold on to freedom and choice. If this legislation had passed, people in the state would have seen a significant increase in their cost of living, the state would have increased their debt, and there likely would have been longer healthcare wait times and more shortages of doctors. 

The state budget for California in 2022 is a total of $286 billion. Back in 2017, a single-payer proposal that is very much like the CalCare proposal would have cost approximately $400 billion. That is significantly more than the whole state budget for this year. So to pass the legislation in the state, CalCare’s supporters offered up the largest tax increase in California history. It basically doubled taxes and would have charged every single household in the state a whopping $12,250. This is according to the Tax Foundation. 

The plan for the increase in taxes had a graduated payroll tax system. The top rate started for employees that only had $49,990 of income. There was also a gross receipt tax on businesses and even more surtaxes on income over $149,509.

All this adds up to a very large increase in taxes on the middle class. What is worse is that this plan was only expected to add an additional $163 billion per year to state income. That was still billions less than what was needed for the new healthcare program.  

Marie Waldron, the Republican Leader of the Assembly, was anxious to have the debate about CalCare. She looked forward to talking about how much taxes would increase with the middle class and how many people would be forced off of their current health care plan. She was ready to argue with Democrats about what they will say to senior citizens who would have their Medicare funds “raided,” and talked about the new wait times that were being proposed. She was ready to discuss the number of hospitals that would likely close. 

Waldron said, “I look forward to hearing Democrats explain how they plan to successfully take over more than 10 percent of the state’s economy when in the last decade they’ve proven themselves incapable of simple things like building a railroad, provident clean drinking water, keeping the lights on and filling potholes.”

She had support from the editors of the Orange County Register. They wrote in a recent editorial that it would be acceptable for the state of California to consider such massive health care more if it had a consistent track record of success and transparency.

It’s another when the state can’t figure out the basics of state government. Health care, obviously, is very important. It is often literally a matter of life and death. . . This isn’t a ban on plastic straws we’re talking about,” the editors of the Register wrote. 

So Sanders and his whole gang of progressives ought to take a long hard look at what just happened. This kind of health care could not even pass in California.