$200 billion state health bill

In another “what were they thinking moment,” Californians are asking if California’s elected Democrats are really as hearing impaired as they appear? Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to create a single-payer health system in the state. In a 6-3 vote along party lines, Democratic senators pushed through the controversial proposal, which will be heard by the full Senate.

Adding insult to injury, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says the bill would cost California taxpayers at least $200 billion a year, 250 percent higher than existing state revenues. The entire state budget currently resides at $96 billion.

The state’s LAO recently estimated that the state is facing a $20.7 billion shortfall. Even as California operates with deficit spending, there is no funding explanation in the bill to cover the health care costs. Therefore, it is not much of a stretch to assume that Senator Leno and team plan to tax the state’s wealthiest residents, as well as business owners and corporations, as that was the funding source of choice from Sheila Kuehl’s 2008 Health Care bill — the last attempt at state-run health care.

Ironically or coincidentally, the Senate committee vote came only two days after Scott Brown’s big Republican win in Massachusetts for the senate seat held for four decades by Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy.

Proponents of the state health plan said the timing of the vote was coincidental and due to legislative timelines – although, with the 6-3 vote last week, the bill was brought back to life from the dead file.

The bill would eliminate private health insurance in California and replace it with a state-run system, providing health insurance to everyone residing in California and make it illegal to have your own private health insurance. The new system would be overseen by another new state agency that also would ultimately decide services and coverage.

The vote in support of state-run health care, on the heals of Brown’s Massachusetts win, as well as many Americans’ remonstration to government run health care, is a bigger issue than just the ongoing spending of money that California does not have. Last week’s vote by state Senators is a sucker punch in the gut to California taxpayers already laboring under some of the worst economic conditions ever seen in the state.

Voting in favor of the bill were Democratic Senators Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, Carol Liu, D-Pasadena, Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, and Leland Yee, D-San Francisco. In opposition were Senators Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, Jeff Denham, R-Merced, and Mimi Walters, R-Tustin.

– Katy Grimes

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