A $400 billion universal health care bill was passed by the California Senate Appropriations Committee this week, but without any plan on how to pay for it.
The bill, called the Healthy California Act, was introduced by Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara, who also chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee passed the bill with a vote of 5-2, sending it to be debated in the Senate next week.
Only incomplete suggestions have been made on how to actually fund the program. Proposals to divert $200 billion from existing government programs like Medicaid and Medicare would only cover half of the projected cost. In order to make up the shortfall, the state would have to impose an extra 15% tax on Californian payroll, on top of the 15.3% already being charged. A cost assessment of the bill projects that the bill would cost more than the entire state budget for the year.
According to the Daily Caller:
The large price tag attached to the bill, which would eliminate the private insurance market, is indicative of its far reaching implications. If passed, the new legislation would allow access to “all medical care determined to be medically appropriate by the member’s health care provider.”
The legislation gives a nearly exhaustive list of treatment options including acupuncture and chiropractic care. Under the proposed system all 40 million Californians would be able to see any specialist without a referral, and co pays and deductibles would be prohibited.
Republican Senator and Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee Patricia Bates called the passage of the bill a “violation of the process.”
“We’re thinking about it as a concept that we’re going to pass without any detail,” Bates continued. “I hope at some point rational thinking kicks in and we’re not just driven by this lobbying effort. Good policy doesn’t come out of intimidation.”