The Corner

Politics & Policy

California’s Future Looks Depressingly Clear

The first Morning Jolt features the Philadelphia Eagles getting their long-sought Lombardi Trophy, some Philadelphians getting their long-sought excuse to smash things, a few ominous signs in the stock markets that will probably be exploited by the president’s critics, and California Democrats lurching to the left and touting a wildly unworkable proposal:

California’s Future Looks Depressingly Clear

If we thought California was liberal before, apparently we haven’t seen anything yet.

[Winning a Democratic primary] means staking out the most liberal stance on issues such as single-payer health care in California, a highly expensive initiative that failed in the legislature last year. The push is in response to the uncertainty surrounding health-care revisions in Washington, but it is estimated to cost twice the state’s annual budget.

Candidates will be forced to defend California’s “sanctuary state” status on immigration and push investment in the solar power and electric car industries to reach strict environmental goals. They also will have to address a sexual harassment scandal that, in Democratic consultant Bill Carrick’s description, “hangs like a black cloud” over a State Capitol where two Democratic lawmakers have resigned and another has been suspended.

The single-payer health plan is likely to strike you as the most unrealistic plan and predictable failure imaginable.

California is undertaking an ambitious bid to establish a single-payer health care system, and now its plan has a price tag: $400 billion a year.

The state legislature has been debating a plan this year to implement a government insurance program to cover all Californians, including those without legal status.

It’s a very generous proposal, as currently conceived. The state would pay for almost all of its residents’ medical expenses — inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health, and nursing home care — under the plan, and Californians would not have any premiums, copays, or deductibles. Those sweeping benefits drive up costs.

Think about it, if this goes into effect, if someone comes into the country illegally, the state of California will pay every penny of the bill for all of that person’s health care. I’m half-tempted to let them try it just for the “teachable moment.” The odds are good that the $400 billion estimate is low because it’s not accounting for the population shifts that would follow enactment of such a law; California would instantly become the destination of choice for everyone with health problems in the entire world.

The state already has a “severe” doctor shortage. Researchers recommend at least 60 doctors for every 100,000 people; only two of nine regions in the state meet that threshold. The Inland Empire has just 39 doctors for every 100,000 people. How many more people will head to doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals when the state is picking up the tab?

You know why California is dysfunctional? Because anyone who tells Democratic primary voters “we can’t afford it” or “this is unworkable” will lose the primary and thus lose the election.

In other news, Dianne Feinstein, who’s seemed a little confused lately, is seeking a fifth full term at age 84.

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