CA governor: No really, let's allow doctors to write prescriptions for houses

CA governor: No really, let's allow doctors to write prescriptions for houses

Just in case anyone thought this moment from Gavin Newsom’s state of the state address on Wednesday was just a momentary lapse into craziness, California’s governor spent this morning dispelling that notion. Let’s take a look at Newsom’s proposal in his speech, in which he declared that roofs amounted to medication. Why not prescribe housing to cure the homeless, Newsom asked, adding “Why not?”

Calling Doogie Housing, Rx! Doogie Housing Rx, to the red insanity line, please:

NEWSOM: Health care and housing can no longer be divorced.

(Side note: I didn’t even realize they were fighting!)

NEWSOM: After all, what’s more fundamental to a person’s well-being than a roof over their head? Doctors — doctors should be able to write prescriptions for housing the same way they do for insulin and antibiotics! Why not? That’s the aim of Cali[fornia].

Two days later, Newsom insists that this is still the aim of California:

Before everyone starts laughing at this ridiculous pander, let’s recall that we used to allow doctors to do just this very thing — in a way. Only back in the day, we called “doctors putting a roof over someone’s head for mental illness issues” commitment papers. And while that system created problems and abuses, it also prevented the mentally-ill homeless from overrunning cities and creating 19th-century disease outbreaks in cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, and others.

Okay, now you can start laughing.

By the way, there are many things fundamental to a person’s well-being — food, water, education, and public systems that discourage fecal matter lying around in the street among them. This is why people work to afford those fundamentals in life, and why we organize government to provide those systems. None of these items are medical in nature, not even proper sewage systems and a culture which makes them fundamental. Doctors can’t write prescriptions for everything in life.

Newsom’s suggestion somehow skips over the fact that someone eventually has to pay for that house or apartment. Who’s going to do that? It won’t be the insurance companies, just as they’re not going to start covering groceries or Port-a-Potties. If the homeless could afford the housing in other ways, they’d already have the roof over their heads. A prescription pad is not a magic spell that just summons things into existence without any cost whatsoever.

Let’s not forget, too, that California’s Democratic establishment has been pushing a single-payer health care plan for the last few years to eliminate private health insurance, a program whose cost will run around $400 billion a year — more than twice the current state budget in its entirety. Under that system, the state would have to pay for the housing, expanding the single-payer system’s cost exponentially. But it gets even more simple than that — if the state has to pay for the housing, why does a doctor need to be involved at all?

This idea is sheer economic and political idiocy. It reminds this Golden State ex-pat — and likely many more — of the blessing of being a Golden State ex-pat these days.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on June 05, 2023