Gavin Newsom is currently running for Governor in California and, barring something dramatic, he is going to win. So when he says he plans to bring single payer to California as Governor, there’s a very good chance he’ll get his shot. Today, Newsom appeared on the Pod Save America podcast where he was asked about his health care plans. Newsom made clear he wants a single paper system that is for everyone in the state regardless of immigration status.
“I’d like to see if we can control our own destiny,” Newsom said. He continued, “I’m not naive about it. I did universal health care when I was Mayor [of San Francisco], fully implemented regardless of pre-existing conditions, ability to pay, and regardless of your immigration status.
“San Francisco is the only universal health care system for all undocumented residents in Amerca, very proud of that. We proved it could be done without bankrupting the city. I’d like to see that we can extend that to the rest of the state.”
Asked specifically about financing, Newsom said other developed countries spent less overall on healthcare. “It’s the transition that’s the challenge,” he said, adding, “It’s going from something old to something new, where the whitewater is.”
That will indeed be a challenge. Last year an estimate of the cost of implementing single payer in California concluded it would cost $400 billion per year, or more than double the state’s current annual budget. The cost was so high that, despite the insistence of the left and the nurse’s union, a Democrat in the California Assembly shelved the proposal.
What’s really interesting about this is that earlier in this same interview, Newsom talks about homelessness in California’s major cities including San Francisco when he was mayor. “Here’s the problem though, it’s not a static number,” Newsom says. He continues, “We started with about 7,000 people on the street; we got 12,000 people off the street…there were still close to 7,000 people on the street. We did a survey, our annual surveys. One surveyed showed that over 90% of the people on the streets weren’t from San Francisco.
“So as soon as you house 2 or 3 people this dynamic population continues to challenge mayors of cities large and small.”
All of that is true and makes sense. But what does Newsom think is going to happen when he announces single payer health care regardless of immigration status? That’s going to be a huge magnet for illegal immigration from across the border but also from illegal immigrants currently spread out around the country. How is California going to pay for all of that?
Speaking of a challenge, one thing the fight over single payer last year did was convince opponents that they needed to team up to block future proposals. The Sacramento Bee reported today:
A group of influential, deep-pocketed business and health care organizations that have long helped shape the legislative agenda in California have joined forces to oppose any future effort to craft a universal, single-payer health care system for the nation’s largest state.
The main focus of the coalition, called “Californians against the costly disruption of our health care,” is to kill any single-payer health care bill in the state Legislature, said Ned Wigglesworth, a political strategist for the coalition.
“As long as proponents plan to bring this back time and again, we think it’s important to have a strong, unified presence to oppose it,” Wigglesworth said, referring to Senate Bill 562, the 2017 single-payer bill pushed by the California Nurses Association that was shelved last year by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Newsom is a talker but some of these problems he’s wading into are not going to be solved through a wonky lecture. We’ll see how far this plan actually gets when people see the costs associated with it are going to be. Here’s the interview with Newsom queued up to the discussion of single payer: