MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

California Scheming: The Progressive Leadership’s New Plan to Impose High-Cost, Low-Quality Medical Care

Posted by M. C. on June 16, 2022

California progressives have turned their largest showplace cities into sewers of homelessness and crime, and their mismanagement of water resources has become a thing of legend. One only can wait with dread as those same progressives move to do with medical resources what they have done with everything else that has been good in this state.

https://mises.org/wire/california-scheming-progressive-leaderships-new-plan-impose-high-cost-low-quality-medical-care

William L. Anderson

With a budget surplus of more than $200 million, the California legislature is thinking big, really big, and that means one thing: single-payer government healthcare, which recently was introduced as AB 1400. Notes the Los Angeles Times:

This measure … would completely change healthcare coverage for Californians. Insurance companies would be shoved aside. People would be switched from their current coverage—whether private, federal Medicare or Medi-Cal for the poor—to a new state-run plan called CalCare.

The purpose is to cover everyone and reduce healthcare costs by eliminating private insurance overhead and profit—and negotiating lower provider fees and drug prices. There’d be no premiums, co-pays or deductibles. And many services would be added, including dental, vision, hearing and long-term care for Medicare beneficiaries.

Of course, there are costs, and the projected cost of such a venture always is going to be front and center. When the California state legislature first began to debate single-payer in 2017, Vox came out with an analysis that set the price tag of this proposed venture at $400 billion a year, or twice the entire state budget at that time. While citing possible costs in the form of dollar outlays can be present, nonetheless, such an analysis creates its own set of problems and tells a very incomplete story, economically speaking. When government policies are enacted or proposed, the discussion forms around the proposed monetary outlays, as though the entire thing were “doable” provided governments can come up with the necessary funds.

Once projected or anticipated monetary outlays become the subject of the political debate, the questions shift to whether or not governments can take in the money necessary to make the project work, without looking at the much bigger picture of what costs really mean. In the case of completely turning all medical care in California over to a government agency, proponents of single-payer in general attempt to tout alleged cost savings, which are framed in terms of what is currently spent in the present system overall.

The legislative newsletter CalMatters recently reported:

A legislative analysis released Thursday estimated single-payer could cost California between $314 billion and $391 billion annually, financed by a series of tax hikes on businesses, workers and high earnersSingle-payer supporters, however, say that sum is smaller than what Californians pay for private insurance. (emphasis mine)

Supporters’ implication is that nothing would change in the creation and sale of healthcare services except that the manner of payment would be taxation and everyone would have all the services they need with no price. All that is needed is “political courage” to vote “yes” and then to enable the California bureaucracies to install the new system.

See the rest here

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