Healthcare Reform Won’t Happen in California

Senator Bernie Sanders could not pursue a top-down, government radical overhaul of our country’s medical system.

So, like-minded California legislators tried a state rendition that would have eliminated private medical insurance, compelled Medicare respondents into a new experimental setup, and placed the government in control of Californians’ healthcare. 

Luckily for California healthcare users, the proposition, dubbed CalCare, failed to garner enough votes, reversing the momentum for single-payer advocates. 


This should serve as a wake-up call for Californians who value their freedom and healthcare choices.

CalCare would have led to a significant increase in the cost of living for Californians, expanded government deficits and crucial healthcare waiting lists, and aggravated doctor shortages. 

California’s current financial year 2022 proposed budget is $286 billion. A 2017 single-payer proposition comparable to CalCare was estimated to cost $400 billion, more than the state’s total funding.

To stump up for CalCare, proponents proposed the state’s largest tax hike in history, roughly doubling taxes and extracting an additional $12,250 from each state residence, per the Tax Foundation.

This tax increase proposal included a new graduated payroll tax system with the top rate applicable to employees earning less than $49,990, a gross revenue tax on business owners, and extra surtaxes on income exceeding $149,509.

While it would’ve been a significant tax uptick on the middle class, it was estimated to generate an extra $163 billion per year, far short of the funds required for the new program.

What would Californians receive in exchange for these extortionate taxes? Certainly not improved healthcare.

Further Implications

Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron expressed excitement about the CalCare debate and the magnitude to which taxes will be increased on the middle class.

She talked about how people will be booted off their current healthcare programs and what Democrats will say to the elderly whose Medicare finances will be ransacked.

She also mentioned how long processing times will be, the degree to which bureaucrats will ration care, and the number of hospitals that will close.

An uphill increase in the cost of living, due to rising taxes, combined with the pay cuts that health professionals could incur under a single-payer system, would have exacerbated California’s doctor shortage. 

Even the New York Times admitted doctors would almost certainly face pay cuts under a government-run system, stating experts across the board concur single-payer would reduce revenue for physicians.

Similar to how other business owners leave California for more business-friendly jurisdictions, tax increases and revenue cuts would have forced California doctors to relocate.

Rather than limiting individuals’ choices under a unified system, states should expand their options. 

Whether it’s expanding telehealth, allowing physicians and nurses to practice across state lines, or repealing unnecessary restrictions, such as certificate-of-need laws preventing hospitals from broadening to meet patient demand, people require more options, not fewer. 

Rather than a one-size-fits-all public option, we require a robust personal option that gives individuals greater control over their healthcare. 

The adage “as California goes, the nation goes” refers to California’s status as a social and political innovator. If California proceeds with a government-run health service, residents of other states would be wise not to follow suit.