Single Payer Dystopia
Late last week, Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus wrote an article about an impending piece of legislation to be introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott. According to the column, the bill would allow states to receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funds to establish state-based single-payer health insurance systems. The article provides background on California’s numerous prior attempts to establish single-payer health care in the state, and quotes liberal advocates as saying the McDermott legislation could finally result in the single-payer dreams becoming reality.
Unfortunately, there are a few flaws in this logic. Such as California’s $16 billion budget deficit, which has prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to ask voters to approve massive tax increases. And there’s also this unwelcome element: “A draft of McDermott’s bill says that to receive federal funds, states would have to offer a health care plan with the same benefits as the most popular plan available to federal government employees.” That plan would be the Blue Cross Blue Shield standard option plan, which in 2010 cost a whopping $6,458.88 for a single person annually – 34% more than the average single premium for employer-provided health insurance in California that year.
To sum up: At a time when California still faces double-digit unemployment and massive budget shortfalls, liberals think the state can use existing federal dollars to cover 7 million uninsured, provide 34% richer benefits to those with insurance, and save the state money in the process. Some might argue that position is taking “California Dreamin’” to an extreme. Because given economic malaise, budget constraints, and a platinum-plated package of mandated benefits, the single-payer health utopia liberals seek would, for millions of California residents, quickly turn into a dystopia. Or even a Fruitopia.