Officials in Washington state continue to slog toward a 2026 deadline for a state-based, single-payer health care system
Washington Policy Center
California officials have now failed three times in passing a single-payer, state-based health care system. The most recent failure came yesterday when the Assembly chose to not take-up the latest single-payer bill. (here) California is a very blue state and socialized medicine has long been a priority of the political left. Yet the sponsors realized the votes were not there to pass the proposed legislation.
Even Governor Newsom, who ran on a single-payer platform, did not give his support to the bill. (here) Instead, he now favors an expansion of Medicaid to all low-income people in the state, including those who are in the country illegally.
As we have written before, there are very significant, fundamental problems with a single-payer system. (here) Demand for health care far outweighs supply and there are not enough dollars available to provide medical care for everyone. Rationing must therefore take place, with government bureaucrats deciding who gets care and how much.
The proposed California plan would have raised $161 billion a year in new, onerous taxes. However, legislative analysts estimated that the bill would have cost between $314 billion to $391 billion each year. Other states, such as Vermont and Colorado, bailed on a single-payer plan because officials realized there is no sensible financial mechanism to pay for it.
Officials in Washington state continue to slog toward a 2026 deadline for a state-based, single-payer health care system. (here) Let’s consider the existing health insurance plans that would be canceled by a single-payer system. Medicaid is a pure taxpayer-funded entitlement, where enrollees are now at the mercy of the government to receive medical care. Those enrollees would probably see little change in their health care. However, it is virtually impossible to understand why seniors enrolled in Medicare and workers who receive employer-paid health insurance would want to give up their current plans and be forced into a state-run plan.
It’s not too late for Washington state officials to abandon their doomed, utopian single-payer plan.
Roger Stark is a senior fellow and director of the Center for Health Care at the Washington Policy Center.