Government & Politics

California Dreamin' — Socialized Medicine Slams Into Reality

A proposal for single-payer health care in the Golden State would take all of its gold and then some.

Louis DeBroux · May 24, 2017

For those with a short-term recollection of history, the fact that Ronald Reagan was governor of California in 1975 is proof that the state was once populated by industrious, entrepreneurial, sane people. Sadly, though blessed with an abundance of natural resources, a moderate climate, and the largest population of any state in the Union, California has allowed the inmates to run the asylum, and they are paying the price.

Reagan once said, “Conservatives were brought up to hate deficits, and justifiably so. We’ve long thought there are two things in Washington that are unbalanced — the budget and the liberals.” If anything, California is now even more unbalanced than DC, as evidenced by recently proposed legislation to establish government-run, single-payer health care, otherwise known as socialized medicine.

The bill, SB 562, introduced by Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), seeking to establish the progressive vision of universal health care, just ran into a giant pothole. This week, California’s legislative analysts submitted a cost estimate to the state, revealing that the move to a single-payer system would cost the state a staggering $400 billion per year.

To put this in perspective, that’s not far from what the entire nation spent last year on Medicaid ($553 billion) and national defense ($585 billion). It is double California’s current state budget ($200 billion).

So where would this money come from? Well, if you take all California spending on Medicare and Medicaid (including federal funds) and redirect it to the single-payer plan, you still come up $200 billion short. Democrats seek to offset this shortfall through “additional revenues,” also known as “tax increases.”

According to the cost analysis, the state would have to implement a new 15% payroll tax which, of course, would decimate the paychecks of the businesses and individuals this health care nirvana is supposed to benefit. That is assuming, of course, that history doesn’t repeat itself, and that these confiscatory tax levels don’t drive business, and therefore the jobs from which the tax is taken, out of the state.

Oh, and the bill would provide universal health care for illegal aliens as well. So California will be attracting masses of illegals that will be a net drain on the system, while driving out the most productive businesses and workers in the state. What could possibly go wrong?

That’s also assuming, of course, that the $400 billion price tag is accurate. When progressive California Democrats passed the high-speed rail boondoggle in 2008, they estimated it would cost $40 billion. Less than 10 years later, the cost has increased to $64 billion, and with the project well behind schedule and over budget, there is every reason to believe the cost will rise.

Rosy projections and busted budgets are a hallmark of progressive government. When Medicare was passed by Congress in 1965, they projected the program would cost $12 billion by 1990. They were only off by 750%, with costs that year being $90 billion. When Medicaid was passed, it was projected to cost $238 million its first year, but clocked in at more than $1 billion, rising to $6.5 billion barely five years later. Last year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, the combined budgets for Medicare and Medicaid were a mind-boggling $957.4 billion. That is roughly the same projected costs for ObamaCare before it was passed, but less than three years later those costs had already doubled.

California isn’t the first to experiment with socialized health care. Barack Obama himself said that ObamaCare was just a stepping stone to get to fully socialized health care in America, and less than a decade in, more than 75% of the co-ops are bankrupt; premiums, deductibles and co-pays are through the roof; and access to doctors has declined. Just think how bad it would be if it was fully socialized.

Vermont, the self-proclaimed “workers’ paradise” (the same appellation the former Soviet Union gave to its oppressive, starvation-riddled hellhole of a country), and the only state to elect an openly avowed Socialist to the Senate, also recently considered going to government-run health care. That dream slammed headfirst into reality when it was discovered the cost would be equal to roughly 40% of the state budget. Even so, progressive Democrat Governor Pete Shumlin lamented the failure to achieve socialized medicine in his state.

What’s baffling is that ostensibly sane people can look at the disastrous record of socialism and still think, “It’s a great thing; it just hasn’t been implemented correctly yet.” Socialist Senator (I-VT) and 2016 Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders just a few years ago praised the socialist utopia of Venezuela, saying America should be more like it. Today, Venezuelans are starving, electricity is spotty, they are without medicine, they are subjected to forced labor, and they can’t even afford toilet paper.

Socialized medicine? No thanks!

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