Does California want single-payer healthcare?

February 27, 2017

Ricardo Lara

With Republican lawmakers and President Donald Trump planning to repeal some, if not all, of Obamacare, California’s Democrat-controlled state government is considering the idea of instituting a state-run single-payer system that would operate like Medicare. [LA Times]

A single-payer system currently exists in Canada, but it has not been adopted by any state in the United States. Earlier this month, State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to adopt single-payer healthcare.

“In California we say we want health care for everyone,” Lara said last week at a universal health care rally. “In California, we say that health care is a human right.”

Lara also said in an interview that, now more than ever, universal healthcare is popular in the minds of Californians.

If California were to create a single-payer system, private insurers would be replaced with a state agency that would function as an insurance company, paying doctors and hospitals when people seek treatment. All Californians would receive access to health care via the state funded agency. Residents who currently receive insurance through employers would receive coverage through the state.

Bills calling for a single-payer system in California previously made it through the Legislature in 2006 and 2008. But, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both of the bills.

Previous proposals suggested financing the state insurance agency by pooling California’s current funding for Medicaid, Medicare and other health programs, then taxing employees 4 percent of their income and employers 7 percent of payroll. However, a 2008 report produced by California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office found that, even when coupling a tax with pooled state healthcare funds, California would be short more than $40 billion in the first full year of implementing a single-payer system.

“Where were they going to come up with the $40 billion?” said Micah Weinberg, president of the Economic Institute at the Bay Area Council.

Weinberg said single-payer is not feasible to do as a state. He noted a single-payer initiative was scrapped in Vermont, and a single-payer measure that appeared on Colorado’s November ballot failed.

Government officials and healthcare analysts in California have floated other policy proposals the state could adopt instead of a single-payer system. Those suggestions include mimicking how Massachusetts provided universal healthcare and creating a public option — a state-run health plan that would be sold on California’s insurance exchange.


Please before you all start clamoring for your “Free” single payer health care, ask someone from England about what they have to go through for theirs, and then realize ours would probably be worse.


Yes, ask all those liberal countries how much their taxes are in order to provide all that free stuff.

You will find taxes are VERY high and that is one of the reasons many rich entertainers come to the USA…


I know quite a few people in England and none of them would dream of trading their health care system for ours (before or after Obamacare).


I find it both humorous and telling that if there’s one thing the mainstream media on both the right and the left can agree on it’s that single payer is infeasible. But the fact of the matter is the entire developed world provides universal coverage, and ALL of those countries do so at a LOWER per capita cost while guaranteeing better health outcomes (the US ranks 37th). Here in the US up to 1/3 of Americans can’t get the quality of care they need because it would be unaffordable for them to do so – even despite having insurance. And of course healthcare costs are far and away the leading cause of bankruptcy in all 50 states. The numbers don’t lie, and it’s time to have a real debate about what should be done to improve our healthcare system.


My spouse and I have always had health insurance. We have always paid for our health insurance. Now we are forced to pay for health insurance for known criminals. What we want is affordable health care and affordable health insurance. What we also want is for our tax dollars is for them to be directed and spent on people who are not actively breaking the law. I cannot break the law and be supported by tax payers dollars unless I am incarcerated. If my tax dollars are intended to support illegal aliens I will refuse to pay them. I believe it’s called “aiding and abetting” when you protect criminals from prosecution. Sorry, I wont aide and abet any criminal; and it should be a crime that the State is trying to make hard working people support such behavior.


I hear what you are saying, but every other developed country is able to cover criminals, poor people, and immigrants, and their per capita costs are significantly lower than ours. Often half as much. I think administrative costs and unjustifiable profiteering are the primary sources of drain on all of our wallets.

Mitch C

Can you imagine how convoluted and cumbersome anything run by the state of California will be? We need much less government not more. The costs associated with a state run operation will begin out of control and get worse from there. If you want an example, just see how badly the state is maintaining our infrastructure. Does the Oroville dam come to mind?


Good point Mitch C.

Add that budget buster high-speed train while you’re at it.

CA can’t pay the retirement benefits it has promised, and now they think they can possibly come within 40 BILLION of providing healthcare?

Not a chance partner.


Yet the same people are totally fine with the state running and managing the death penalty. It is quite ironic to not trust the state to handle basic functions, but being fine with it dealing out the ultimate penalty flawlessly when there is zero tolerance for mistakes.


This is a proposal with an obvious negative consequence: it will drive companies and their employees out of California. There will no source for funding the health single payer care law and the pension plan will go bankrupt. Further all federal programs will move East where they will be gainfully accepted.

This would be an act of economic suicide for California. The positive consequence for most liberals is the reality California will become a state of Mexico where the rich dominate and drugs abound.


Please! Most Californians want what most Americans want, affordable health care, period.

Another thing! Why the hell are cigarettes still legal and not on the schedule 1 drug list of this country? Nicotine is a psychoactive and addictive drug, one that has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S. (the definition of a schedule 1 drug) and it’s not only legal to purchase it’s manufactured to hell and back! What’s this got to do with health care costs? Because it costs us about $170 billion in direct medical care costs a year (2016) while it is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year, including nearly 42,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure (couldn’t that, second-hand smoke deaths, be seen as a “drive-by smoking murder”? Why not? Just like the drive-by shooter that doesn’t kill his intended target, it kills someone, and they get prosecuted for it).

Then we could talk about the cost of pharmaceuticals, something the feds’ gave their manufacturers carte-blanc (in this country anyway) to charge whatever the fuck they want for! They account for about 17% of the countries health care costs! What the hell?!!! Let’ see; 17% of $3.2 Trillion dollars (2015 US Health Care Costs) = $340 Billion?! Is that right? Hell, we need to just bend over and take it without a kiss (maybe not… Then we’d have to roll over and asked those who just cornholed us to give us the meds’ to get past the pain and block any infectious shit that may occur).

I heard an interesting proposition on one of the ACA’s most important factors, preexisting conditions. This Republican Rep’ ( I don’t remember his name or the state he represents) suggested we take those who have preexisting conditions and put them on the rolls of Medicare/Medicaid. Good idea?


Why did the outlaw riding a scoot without a helmet? They said it cost the tax payers to much in medical bills. BS is what it is. Sides our government subsidies tobacco growers. Its a lose, lose deal like 99% of Gov deals.


Actually, that would have been just one company that started the helmet law BS, Bell Helmets! And we were not the first country to do so, that would have been Australia in 1961.

I haven’t been able to find any documentation other than head injury caused deaths as the main reason for the current helmet laws and not the cost of medical care. Can you provide me a link?


Hey, I did dome investigation and we have some mutual ground Snoid…

It seems that Bell, in fact, did start the lobbying for helmet laws USING the cost of head injuries to federal medical programs as its main reason for doing so (played to the right on that one didn’t they?)

Here’s something interesting; it also appears the insurance lobby didn’t do much to support that movement as an alive injured motorcyclist would cost them more than a dead one.

One company’s profit is another’s loss…

-Remember Andrew Holland-


This Californian wants single-payer healthcare.

Black Copter Pilot

Please, in great detail, how is California going to pay for it?


The devil is in the details, but please keep in mind that CA is the 6th largest economy in the world, and if smaller economies can provide better healthcare systems at lower per capita costs, it could feasibly be done here at the state level.

Jorge Estrada

STOP! I’d say just outlaw insurance fraud and go get them before figuring what the real costs and or program should be. Our medical industry rate structures are the root of evil. Just see your doc, pay with a check or cash at the time of service and see the difference. My example is a $377.00 full payment charge to me verses a $8400.00 full payment charge to insurance, go figure? Yes, I caught them accidently charging the insurance company too and some just write the co-pay check instead of keeping records. It’s easy to do when the bills usually trail the service by a couple of months.


Here is a list of questions to ask yourself.

1. Are are roads better?

2. Is the infrastructure better, think dams, roads, bridges, sidewalks bla,bla,bla.?

3. Are you more secure then 10 years ago?

4. Is the drug flow into Ca from Mexico lesser the previous decades?

5. Do we have more water storage of projects in the works in light of years long drought?

6. Are police departments better staffed?

7. Are gangs under control?

8 Are taxes lower?

And some thing a State medical program will work better in Ca?


You would probably be surprised at the answers to SOME of your questions if you actually did some research. However, you do have a legitimate point in general. A well-run, economically viable, single-payer health care system is possible — other nations have done it. Can we do it here? I am not so sure.