Should the Government Run Healthcare?

Last week the Assembly Health Committee reviewed, and passed, AB 1400, which would mandate government-run healthcare for almost 40 million Californians. Are you on Medicare?  You won’t be. Do you like your current health plan?  Say goodbye to it. Do you want to pay higher taxes, for less care? You’re in luck.

AB 1400 creates an unelected 9-member board to run state healthcare with vast power to decide how much doctors and hospitals are paid, to adjust (cut) provider budgets, and much more. When a similar bill was proposed in 2017, costs were estimated at $400 billion. If the entire state budget had been spent on healthcare, the program would still have been $200 billion short.

Where does the money come from? ACA 11 would provide the funding – or rather, taxpayers would. New excise taxes, payroll taxes, and personal income taxes in excess of $163 billion per year would be necessary. People are already fleeing California -- and this would add to the exodus. Then there is the daunting task of passing ACA 11, which requires a two-thirds vote in each house, and final voter approval.  Will voters support massive tax increases? Will they support abolishing their existing health plans? Will millions of seniors voluntarily hand Medicare over to a state bureaucracy famous for allowing EDD, which serves a comparative fraction of California’s population, to crash every time there’s a big spike in unemployment claims? The same bureaucracy that’s incapable of providing more water storage, dealing with homelessness, crime, housing shortages? Without funding, AB 1400 is meaningless.

This proposal requires independent review. My Caucus has asked the Legislative Analyst’s office for a Citizen Cost Impact Analysis to determine the true impact of AB 1400 and related costs on workers, patients, and our healthcare delivery systems. The review will likely be an eye-opener.