Despite the supposed popularity for a total government takeover in healthcare (often coded in terms of providing “universal healthcare,” or “socialized medicine”), it hasn’t proven itself on a state-by-state level.
Bernie Sanders was among those pushing for such a system in the 2016 Democrat primary, but given that he’s the senator from Vermont, he ought to know better. In 2011, Vermont’s Democrat-controlled legislature approved a government-run, government-financed health-care system for all Vermonters. The state’s governor, Peter Shumlin, had campaigned on a pledge to enact single-payer.
The plan quickly ran into trouble when the cost of the program turned out to be an estimated $4.3 billion a year. For some context, the state’s entire budget was $4.9 billion that year. According to one estimate, to plug the budget gap, businesses would see an 11.5 percent payroll tax increase, on top of whatever they chose to provide for employee health care, while individual income taxes could jump by up to 9 percent.
Needless to say, they had to abandon plans to implement such a system. Having learned nothing from that, candidate Sanders ran on a proposed universal healthcare plan that would increase spending by $15 trillion over ten years.
The latest state to give the universal healthcare dream a chance is a one already known for having a tendency to take on crippling debts: California.
According to the Daily Wire, a couple of California Democratic state senators are attempting to advance a bill creating a single-payer health care system. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee concluded that establishing a single-payer system would cost the state $400 billion. The state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year is currently at $183 billion.
In other words, a single-payer health care system would cost twice as much as California’s entire state budget.
The bill would cover all state residents — including illegal immigrants — and provide free health care without any co-pays or deductibles whatsoever. Additionally, a nine-member panel would oversee the system.
Below are some highlights of the bill’s freebies:
California already faces a $1.6 billion budget deficit this year, but the state’s debt problems are actually much worse than that, as the state faces unfunded liabilities of almost a trillion dollars. Given that the Tax Foundation has already ranked California as having the sixth-highest tax rates in the nation, the ensuing tax rates from implementing a single-payer health care bill system would be even more onerous and cripple the state’s economy.
The problem with creating utopia is that reality eventually kicks in and the attempted utopia turns into a living nightmare, which is why states that have tried to implement single-payer have failed to do so. In addition to Vermont, Colorado voters rejected a proposed single-payer system in 2016 when faced with the prospect of increasing payroll taxes by 10 percent to meet the estimated $25 billion annual price tag.
That’s a wake-up call if we’ve ever seen one