Universal Health Care Fails In California
Why? Because the Democratic legislature thought it cost way too much. Interesting twist, no?
The question I have is if California can’t pass it, will this spell doom for a national healthcare initiative?
The idea was that Mr. Schwarzenegger would set a national precedent, leading to a groundswell for reform in Washington. Not to mention that the Schwarzenegger plan was a near-copy of the one Mitt Romney pioneered in Massachusetts, and the one Hillary Clinton now favors. A leading author of the California plan was Laurie Rubiner, who directed health policy at the New America Foundation before becoming Senator Clinton’s legislative director in 2005.
So much for that. The California legislature is probably the most liberal this side of Vermont, and even Democrats refused to become shock troops for this latest liberal experiment. Mr. Schwarzenegger and Democrats in the State Assembly did agree on a compromise plan in December. But on Monday, only a single member of the Senate Health Committee voted to report the bill to the full chamber — and thus it joined a graveyard full of state “universal” health-care failures.
Like collapses in Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, this one crumpled because of the costs, which are always much higher than anticipated. The truth teller was state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, who thought to ask about the price tag of a major new entitlement amid what’s already a $14.5 billion budget shortfall.
Personally, I don’t think this bodes well in a post-Bush world. His spending was out of control, and fiscal discipline is going to be top-of-mind in this country next year. The Republicans will be able to use this failure as a wedge between fiscal conservatives and the Dem candidate, and it’ll work.
Still, the argument has to be made that in order for us to truly realize the ownership society that Republicans push, we need the universal health care safety net. Because there’s no way that idea will be realized if people are scared that one illness has the potential to completely undo what they’ve taken years to build. Just won’t happen, and it’s not happening, as we see our median incomes going down when adjusted for inflation and small business ownership going down too.
In short, America needs a safety net, but unless somebody can convince Americans that the cost is worth the realization of the ownership society, I don’t think it’s going to happen.