Progressives in California have a bright idea: Bankrupt the basket-case state even further with single-payer health care:
A key legislative committee in California revived a bill Thursday to create a government-run health care system in the nation’s most populous state, two days after Massachusetts elected a senator who opposes the president’s national health care plan.
The Senate Appropriations Committee released the bill for a vote by the full Senate next week. The legislation had been held over from last year because of the state’s ongoing budget crisis.
Creating a single-payer system would cost California an estimated $210 billion in its first year. That’s roughly double the size of the total state budget, but about what the state and federal government and residents cumulatively spend now on California health care, said Sen. Mark Leno.
Leno, D-San Francisco, introduced the bill after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger twice vetoed similar legislation. The Republican governor negotiated his own $14.7 billion health care reform bill with Democratic leaders two years ago, only to see the measure fail in a Senate committee amid concerns over paying for the measure.
Leno’s bill would create a commission to decide how to pay for the system, at a cost this year of more than $1 million.
Leno said the system could be funded with a payroll tax along with existing state and federal money and increased efficiencies from a state-managed system that eliminates the insurance middleman. Voters would have to approve the commission’s funding plan, he said.
Republicans mocked majority Democrats for reviving the bill as health care reform flounders in Washington, and California struggles with a new $20 billion deficit.
Old socialist habits die hard.