State Democrats Again Try for Universal Healthcare

Calling the Democrats’ new universal healthcare legislation “bold” is an understatement. It would be a life-changer for practically every Californian.

It also would require by far the largest state tax increase in history.

Some powerful opponents will call it “socialist.” But aren’t Social Security and Medicare socialist? And they’re among the most popular government programs in America.

Some supporters are hailing it as a California version of federal “Medicare for all.” But reallyit’s Medicare for nobody. Californians on Medicare would be shifted into the new state-run “CalCare.”

No more Medicare in the nation’s most populous state. Nor Medi-Cal, the California version of Medicaid insurance for poor people. And private healthcare insurance would essentially be out of business. Everyone would be transferred into CalCare.

As advertised by CalCare proponents, most Californians would be better off under the new state plan: “No premiums, copays or deductibles … or other out-of-pocket costs.”

But more benefits: “Including all primary and preventative care, hospital and outpatient services, prescription drugs, dental, vision, audiology [hearing aids], reproductive health services, maternity and newborn care, long-term services and … mental health and substance abuse treatment, laboratory and diagnostic services, ambulatory services and more.

“Patients will have freedom to choose doctors, hospitals and other providers … without worrying about whether a provider is ‘in-network.’ ”

Sounds like a late-night TV commercial for wonder pills.

The assumption is that Sacramento can manage such a massive endeavor. There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical.

“I look forward to hearing Democrats explain how they plan to successfully take over more than 10% of the state’s economy when in the last decade they’ve proven themselves incapable of simple things like building a railroad, providing clean drinking water, keeping the lights on and filling potholes,” says Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron of Valley Center in San Diego County.

Even a major Democratic supporter, Assembly Health Committee Chairman Jim Wood of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, has similar concerns.

“When you look at California, especially with COVID, clearly you see things that are not working very well,” Wood told me.

“I’ve always been supportive of healthcare for everyone,” the dentist added. “But I have serious and legitimate concerns about how an entity like this would be governed. I just worry whether we have the capacity to manage this.”

Wood cited as a glaring example of mismanagement the state Employment Development Department, which dished out several billion dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefits early during the pandemic, including to people in prison.

But state government is a mixed bag, Wood continued. He praised Covered California, which operates an expanded version of the federal Affordable Care Act, as “a model for the country.”

He also called federal Medicare “a well-run system.”

“Doctors and hospitals don’t like Medicare because the rates are lower,” Wood said. “But recipients on Medicare like it.”

And California would be leaving it.

Wood is ready to chuck current private insurance.

Click here to read the full article at the LA Times