State-run Healthcare? Not So Fast

Last week, Assembly Bill 1400 (AB 1400), establishing state-run healthcare for all Californians, crashed and burned in the Assembly. Opposition was widespread from all sectors of the healthcare field and citizens.

There were several reasons for this, including the astronomical costs. The entire state budget is $262 billion, and cost estimates to provide healthcare for 40 million Californians range up to $400 billion more. What about the unelected 9-member board running the program? Could a unaccountable state bureaucracy really make competent healthcare decisions? Ask a million or so EDD claimants who waited months for unemployment payments – many are still waiting. The bill also eliminates Medicare for millions of seniors, along with all private health insurance, including employer provided plans.

There is no mention of funding sources in AB 1400, and without funding, the bill is irresponsible and imaginary. A separate bill, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11 (ACA 11) would authorize funding, including massive tax increases on businesses and employees making over $49,900 per year. ACA 11 requires a two-thirds vote in the Legislature, an impossible hurdle since AB 1400 supporters were unable to ensure a bare majority (41 votes). Even if passed, the measure would still require voter approval.

93%, of Californians already have some form of medical coverage, one of the nation’s highest coverage rates. Improvements are necessary, such as increasing Medi-Cal reimbursement rates for providers – we rank below 48 other states, often making finding doctors or scheduling timely appointments problematic.

But destroying our healthcare system, doubling our already high tax rates, driving more people, businesses and healthcare providers out of California, can’t be the answer.

My Caucus unanimously opposed AB 1400, and many Democrats also withheld support. Thousands signed petitions we provided opposing the bill, and my office received hundreds of constituent calls and emails. Thanks to these efforts, a huge coalition blocked a state takeover of your healthcare.