by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
While the latest Republican attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare may have failed, Democrats in California and in D.C. are just getting started in their effort to eliminate the health law.
Unfortunately, they’re angling to replace ObamaCare with something even worse.
In California, State Senators Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins introduced the details of the “The Healthy California Act,” on March 30 which would create a “single-payer health care coverage program and a health care cost control system.” And they’re considering using the flexibility afforded by ObamaCare’s “state innovation waivers” to enact this vision.
As Sen. Lara put it, “now more than ever is the time to talk about universal health care.”
The opposite is true. Since ObamaCare became law seven years ago, the case for single-payer has only grown less convincing.
Consider the two states that have already tried and failed to launch single-payer systems.
Vermont’s attempt imploded in 2014 following news that it would cost $4.3 billion a year — nearly as much as the state’s entire budget. Gov. Peter Shumlin concluded that the taxes and regulations required to fund the program — an 11.5% payroll tax on business and a tax of up to 9.5% on individuals — “might hurt our economy.” No kidding.
Colorado voters had a chance to adopt a single-payer system with a ballot initiative last November. The reform, known as Amendment 69, would have imposed a 10% payroll tax, and would have nearly doubled the state’s $27 billion budget.
It would have also eliminated most private coverage throughout Colorado. Eighty percent of voters rejected the proposal. Even the state’s Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, opposed the initiative.
Outrageous taxes are perhaps the least troubling consequence of single-payer care. Indeed, had residents of Colorado or Vermont gone through with their reforms, they would have soon faced long delays for substandard care.