What is single-payer healthcare? According to Vox, the healthcare system would cover “almost all of its residents’ [and undocumented immigrants’] medical expenses – inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health, and nursing home care – and Californians would not have any [insurance] premiums, copays, or deductibles.”
It is also a system that could potentially cost a whopping $400 billion to implement annually in California. This cost would have to be covered by California’s entire annual budget of existing federal, state, and local funds plus some, which would be covered by doubling the state’s current tax burden of 11 percent of the residents’ income.
Effectively, the personal spending by employers and employees would be reduced from ranges between $100 billion and $150 billion to $50 billion and $100 billion annually. According to the LA Times, it would also lead to a loss in job opportunities and in money due to taxes.
The system continues to show aspects that aren’t flawless. According to the LA Times, the bill, SB 562 proposed by Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would lead to “unprecedented changes to a mature healthcare system,” which would then lead to extreme uncertainty in how the system would affect California participants in it.
The single-payer system has been attempted before by other states in the United States. For example, Vermont had imposed a single-payer healthcare system, but it was forced to abandon such plan because Governor Peter Shumlin realized that the cost was “far more than he had anticipated.” Similarly, ColoradoCare with the single-payer system was rejected by Colorado voters when a study released data that costs couldn’t be covered even if taxes were tripled.
California must consider the effects that this single-payer healthcare system could potentially have on its residents.