California can provide necessary and efficient lower-cost universal health care

A new report commissioned by the California Nurses Association concludes that universal health care can work with just a few sensible adjustments to human nature.

The report says California can reduce the cost of single-payer healthcare by 18 percent, from an estimated $400 billion to a mere $331 billion, if people will just accept a few simple new truths about themselves:

  1. consumers will eagerly pay more sales tax on almost everything they buy
  2. companies will find a new sense of duty and refuse to pass their higher taxes along to customers
  3. competent healthcare executives will voluntarily accept lower pay
  4. a new centralized healthcare bureaucracy will obviously cost less
  5. patients will cheerfully go without unnecessary and inefficient medical services

It’s really that simple, and healthcare really will cost less, say Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who are working on Senate Bill 562, “The Healthy California Act.”

Cash

Healthy California would require piles of cash, about 70 percent of it from taxes paid in other states, but this isn’t the Golden State and can’t we do anything we want?

“Wouldn’t you rather be nickel and dimed into a brand new free healthcare plan rather than pay insurance premiums?” Lara asked rhetorically. “Because we’re talking free. As in no insurance premiums, no out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, and no more deductibles. This is free healthcare for all that costs 18 percent less under my plan.”

“Our plan,” interrupted Sen. Atkins, immediately pivoting to criticism about executive salaries in other big California bureaucracies.

“We readily admit that too many University of California administrators make more money than the governor,” she shrugged, apparently referencing the latest UC budget scandal. “We also recognize that the UC needs to pay more to attract top talent. But this is about healthcare. It’s different because healthcare is a right.”

Lara instantly agreed. “Yes. And education is a right, too. I get that.”

“We get that,” Atkins said.

“Yes, we get that,” Lara continued. “But healthcare is more of a right to more people, and that’s how we can attract top executives for salaries they wouldn’t otherwise accept.”

When asked about the higher taxes required by the plan, both senators were unequivocal that everyone would pay more.

“We’ll spread the wealth and the pain,” said Lara stoically. “There will be no free riders. Everyone will pay their fair share. Of course, existing state and federal funding that subsidizes people who can’t pay will have to remain in place.”

“That would cover about $225 billion of the $331 billion we need,” said Atkins. “Higher sales taxes on consumers and higher corporate taxes will cover the rest. But remember, everyone will have healthcare regardless of immigration status or their ability to pay. That’s part of what makes our plan less expensive.”

When asked if homeless residents from other U.S. states could cross the border and receive coverage, Lara said no. “You can’t be denied care for a pre-existing condition, but you must be a pre-existing resident of California. We couldn’t afford to pay for free healthcare for literally everyone.”

“Which brings up another important cost-saving measure,” said Atkins. “Some medical procedures are too inefficient to be included in our plan.”

“And too unnecessary,” interrupted Lara. “We don’t have a list yet, but we expect to unexpectedly find a lot of medical procedures that are inefficient or unnecessary. Our new Healthy California plan is going to ruthlessly root out inefficiency and provide comprehensive health coverage to all residents when necessary.”

“We strongly believe in the message of inclusion, especially when the right to good health is at stake,” said Atkins. “And with the right messaging, people will believe anything. MIT professor Jonathan Gruber proved that with Obamacare. Now it’s our turn.”

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