January 14, 2022 | Updates

What Others Are Saying: The Costs of One-Size-Fits-All, Single-Payer Health Care Are Too High

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite the fact that one-size-fits-all single-payer health care proposals remain unfavorable with voters and have not advanced at either the federal or state levels, lawmakers in California have reintroduced a proposal to create a one-size-fits-all government health insurance system like Medicare for All that would come with an unprecedented price tag. 

The Los Angeles Times reported this week: 

  • “A group of Democratic lawmakers are pushing a massive restructuring of the state’s healthcare system under legislation that would guarantee medical coverage for every resident in the state by enacting billions in new taxes to create a single-payer system.” (Los Angeles Times, 1/12/22
  • “The UC Labor Center estimates that creating a single-payer system could cost the state $222 billion a year…” (Los Angeles Times, 1/12/22

No state has implemented a one-size-fits-all single-payer health insurance system because there is no way to avoid reality – any single-payer system would be too expensive:  

  • “Vermont passed a single-payer law in 2011, but after running the numbers, the state abandoned its plans. A massive tax hike and the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of private health insurance plans proved too much for Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and his party to endure.” (Health Affairs, 12/19/18

Even California has tried and failed to pass a single-payer health insurance system in the past: 

  • “A single payer system has been a staple of California progressive political rhetoric for decades. But it’s not been easy to accomplish in a state where most people pay for private health insurance through their jobs. In 1994, voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot initiative that would have created a universal health care system. Another attempt passed the state Senate in 2017, but it never got a vote in the state Assembly.” (ABC News, 1/12/22

In 2017, voters and state policymakers stopped a single-payer proposal in its tracks due to its unrealistic costs: “The estimated tax increases needed to pay for a new system would be unprecedented. Under one scenario, the average statewide sales tax rate would have to jump from 8.5 percent to nearly 37 percent to generate the amount of revenue needed. Under another, California would have to create a new 15 percent payroll tax, withholding $150 from a $1,000-a-week paycheck.” (Sacramento Bee, 3/13/18

Lastly, the Wall Street Journal editorial board warned of other potential consequences of California’s latest single-payer health care proposal. In addition to high costs, residents may lose control and choice over their health care:  

  • “Now progressives are completing [the single-payer health care proposal] with gargantuan tax increases. Their revived legislation would replace Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance with a state-run system and eliminate co-pays, deductibles and premiums….A board of bureaucrats would control costs—i.e., ration care. Deliberations about rationing decisions would be concealed from the public.” (Wall Street Journal, 1/10/22

Now is the time to build on what’s working, not start over by creating one-size-fits-all government health insurance systems American families can’t afford. 

  • A nationwide tracking poll shows that 65 percent of voters prefer building on our current system and the vast majority of voters with health insurance coverage are satisfied with their coverage. (Voter Vitals, 12/6/21


Privacy Policy