BY JOHN MYERS SACRAMENTO BUREAU CHIEF
JAN. 6, 2022 12:32 PM PT
SACRAMENTO — California would enact a sweeping, first-in-the-nation universal healthcare plan under a proposal unveiled Thursday by a group of state Democratic lawmakers, providing health services to every resident and financed by a broad array of new taxes on individuals and businesses.
Though some of the policy details of the ambitious plan were laid out last year, the way to fund it had not been determined. The proposal, now laid out in separate pieces of legislation, faces significant hurdles in the coming months — first at the state Capitol, with opposition from groups representing doctors and insurance companies, and then possibly at the ballot box, as voters would have to approve the taxes in an amendment to the California Constitution.
“There are countless studies that tell us a single-payer healthcare system is the fiscally sound thing to do, the smarter healthcare policy to follow, and a moral imperative if we care about human life,” Assemblyman Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), the proposal’s author, said Thursday.
Efforts to create a single-payer healthcare system, in which medical expenses for all residents are covered by a government-run fund, have been widely discussed in California for years. Supporters say the cost of providing care to the state’s residents would go down without the administrative expenses of private insurance plans.
They also point out the costs incurred by Californians under slimmed-down healthcare plans with high deductibles and co-pays — costs they argue will disappear if California creates a state-run program that blends state and federal dollars.