California Kills Universal Health Care Bill

Bill would have doubled state taxes to fund single-payer health care system.

QUICK FACTS:
  • A bill that would have created a first-of-its-kind, universal health care system died in the California state legislature on Monday after progressive Democrats failed to secure the necessary support for the legislation, FOX News reports.
  • The legislation would have cost $391 billion per year, when California’s entire budget this year already stands at $263 billion.
  • It would have also effectively outlawed private health insurance, forcing all Californians onto a government-run plan called “CalCare.”
  • And it would have included a 2.3% tax on a business’s gross revenue over $2 million, regardless of whether the business is profitable.
  • Democratic Assemblyman Ash Kalra, who sponsored Assembly Bill 1400, said he scrapped the proposal because he lacked the 41 votes needed for the bill to advance out of the Assembly.
  • “It became clear that we did not have the votes necessary for passage, and I decided the best course of action is to not put AB 1400 for a vote today,” Kalra said in a press release. “Although the bill did not pass the Assembly by today’s deadline, this is only a pause for the single-payer movement.”
WHAT AB 1400 WOULD HAVE COST CALIFORNIANS:
  • A recent analysis from the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan group advocating for lower taxes, found that the proposed constitutional amendment in other legislation also necessary for AB 1400 to advance, would increase taxes by roughly $12,250 per household in order to fund the government-funded health care system, FOX notes.
BACKGROUND:
  • If the bill passed, California would have become the first state in the country to have a universal, single-payer health care system, FOX notes.
  • California is already on track to spend $517 billion for health care expenditures this year, according to a separate analysis from the University of California Berkeley Labor Center. That number includes $222 billion in household and employer costs.
  • The proposed tax increases come as California is losing residents who are leaving for red states with lower tax burdens, when California already has one of the highest costs of living in the country.
  • One prominent Democrat who did not express support for AB 1400 was Gov. Gavin Newsom, who ran for office in 2018 on a platform to create a single-payer system in California but has since distanced himself from that pledge, KFMB San Diego reports.