Governor Newsom Announces How He Plans To Pay For Universal Healthcare For State Residents

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The governor announced on Tuesday that he wants California to be the first state to offer access to universal healthcare, and now some experts said the question becomes whether voters will approve a tax hike on millions of Californians.

“Universal healthcare for all regardless of preexisting conditions, regardless of the ability to pay and regardless of your immigration status,” Newsom said Wednesday in Kern County.

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As the governor attempts to sell Californians on universal healthcare for all state residents, including 1.1 million undocumented immigrants, he said the state’s multi-billion dollar surplus will help pay for the program and that, ultimately, it will save taxpayers money.

“We have universal healthcare, but it’s on the back end. It’s called the emergency room and it’s costing you, the taxpayer, a fortune,” Newsom said.

State lawmakers would have to vote to raise taxes on people and businesses that earn more than $149,509 a year, which would raise taxes $163 billion dollars a year.

Newsom has already expanded healthcare coverage since taking office to cover low income, uninsured people. This plan would cost another $2.8 billion.

“It’s going to be a total disaster,” said Assemblyman Kevin Kiley who ran against Newsom in the recall election.

Kiley is among the plan’s most vocal critics.

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“California is already way overtaxed, you know, worst taxes in the country. It’s why more and more people are leaving the state. It’s why we had more people left than came for the first time in state history,” he said.

The assemblyman said it’s not just the taxes that will hurt California families, it’s the increased costs you’ll pay for products and services.

“The taxes also go onto businesses and what happens there is they pass them onto consumers. That’s already one of the big problems with California is that taxes on businesses and regulations on businesses are so high that it makes everything so expensive,” Kiley said.

But Newsom did campaign on universal healthcare when he ran for governor. So, this may be a popular plan with voters.

“This is going to be very popular with the progressive base of the Democratic Party,” said Professor of Politics at Claremont McKenna College Jack Pitney. “The broader electorate is a different story. This proposal could allow for a very large tax increase and in recent elections, California voters have not been entirely positive about tax increases. Even though they are overwhelmingly Democratic, they doesn’t mean they are going to be progressive up and down the line.”

Voters will get the final say if the plan clears the state legislature. The governor said the current system is not working and costs too much the way it stands.

“Why do you maintain a system that is costly and inefficient and that does not lower costs for everyone?” Newsom said.

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In 1994, voters rejected a plan to create universal healthcare. It was tried again in 2017, but did not pass the legislature.

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