Single-Payer Slayer

Out here in California the latest Progressive cause—after high speed rail and solving climate change all by ourselves—is a state-based single-payer health care system. There is a bill (SB 562) that has passed out of one state Senate committee already, along with talk of a ballot initiative, and if those fail, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a certain candidate for governor next year, is talking about universal single-payer health care as a centerpiece of his campaign. (Aside: I’ll predict right now that Newsom will be California’s next governor, because isn’t it obvious that in its advanced state of decadence, California deserves a governor named Gavin.)

Now before reading further, take in the fact that California total state budget at the moment is about $180 billion.

And now take in the analysis of the bill from the state Senate Appropriations Committee (run by Democrats, remember), which has estimated that the single-payer system SB 562 contemplates would cost . . . $400 billion.

So just where will the revenue come from to more than double total state spending? The LA Times reports:

The analysis proposes one scenario in which a new payroll tax on employers — with a rate of 15% of earned income — could supply the new revenue.

Yes, yes, I know, workers and employers would somehow come out ahead because they would no longer be on the hook for health care premiums. Anyone who believes this also believed Obama’s promise that if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.  In fact, if wages in California rise by the amount of health insurance costs, many workers will find their federal income tax liability going up by a lot, as well as federal payroll tax burdens. I suspect a more complete analysis will show that wage earners would lose bigly from this system.

Keep your eye on this one, as it will be fun to watch Dem-on-Dem mayhem. The unions are unlikely to smile on this idea, for starters. But several Progressive interest groups promise to run primary challengers against any Democrat who votes against the bill when and if it comes to the floor.

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