Covid-fighting hero Gavin Newsom promised California voters a single-payer universal health care system in 2018. A majority of Californians agree that health care is a human right. California has a larger population than most European countries that we consider our models of proper government. California has tons of income and wealth. There are no Republicans capable of preventing California state government from following Science and acting morally. So, as with housing the unhoused, there shouldn’t be any obstacle to California living its principles.
A year ago, AB-1400 Guaranteed Health Care for All, was published. Apparently, when a fundamental human right is being denied there is no reason for California politicians to act quickly. Nonetheless, there was some action a month ago… “Tax hikes for universal health care in California?” (CalMatters):
To implement single-payer health care, or not to implement single-payer health care?
That’s the question facing state lawmakers after a group of Democratic legislators on Thursday unveiled a package of bills to create a universal health care program called CalCare. The proposal has already earned better reception than it did last year, when it was tabled without a hearing after lawmakers raised concerns about its lack of a funding source.
But the funding source — taxes — proposed in a separate bill will likely face an uphill battle. Tax hikes must be approved by two-thirds of lawmakers in both the state Assembly and Senate — a tall order, especially in an election year — and a majority of voters to go into effect. And the doctors’ lobby, insurance industry and business groups are already mobilizing against the bill.
The bills present a conundrum for Gov. Gavin Newsom, who vowed to implement single-payer health care when campaigning for the governorship in 2018. That earned him the backing of powerful groups like the California Nurses Association and progressive activists — and now they want him to make good on his promise, especially after they mobilized to help him defeat the recall last September. An estimated 3.2 million Californians remain uninsured.
Assemblymember Ash Kalra, a San Jose Democrat and the proposal’s main author: “Doing nothing is not action. It is, in fact, the cruelest of actions while millions suffer under our watch.”
What’s happened since then? The state government has “a record-breaking $286.4 billion, including a $45.7 billion surplus” (ABC, 1/10/2022). Yet, despite the government having more money than ever, including a ton of cash that it didn’t expect (thanks to the miracle of asset inflation and capital gains taxation at 13.3 percent?), Mx. Kalra withdrew his/her/zir/their bill (see “Why single payer died in the California Legislature, again”).
Californians don’t agree with MLK, Jr. that “The time is always right to do what is right”? If not during this period of historic budget surplus, when would be the best time for working and tax-paying Californians to deliver to their brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters the universal health care that they say is a human right?
- “California Considers Doubling its Taxes” (Tax Foundation), implying that it is a bad thing to raise taxes in order to fund what the taxpayers themselves say is a human right (for the record, I disagree with this perspective and agree with Bernie Sanders; if you believe that something is a human right you should be happy to pay to make sure that everyone can obtain whatever is theirs by right; nobody is forced to live in California and those who disagree that health care is a human right are free to move to some other state)
- “In Beverly Hills, Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt Has Paid $65 Million for Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen’s “Enchanted Hill”” (WSJ), an example of how the dream health care system could be trivially funded with a surtax on the value of houses worth over $1 million or, if we want to get refined, by a land value tax on Rich and Righteous Californians