Democratic presidential candidates are rushing to declare their support for a single-payer — i.e. government-run — health care system. But voters reject such a system — even in left-wing California, where it is thought to be popular.
A Quinnipiac University poll released this week revealed that a plurality oppose single-payer health care in the state: “Only 41 percent of California voters support replacing private health insurance with a single-payer system run by the state, with 46 percent opposed. Democrats support the idea 61 – 24 percent. Opposed are Republicans, 75 – 14 percent, and independent voters, 51 – 38 percent.” The gap is outside the poll’s 4.1% margin of error.
California’s own Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) is running for president on a platform of “Medicare for All,” which she said would also mean eliminating private health insurance, though she walked that statement back somewhat.
Previous efforts at creating “Medicare for All” or single-payer health care in California have failed. The State Senate passed a single-payer bill in 2017, but the Democrat speaker of the State Assembly, Anthony Rendon (D-Los Angeles), refused to allow it to come to a vote because the legislation included no plan to pay for the system’s $400 billion annual price tag — nearly three times the existing state budget. (He was rewarded with death threats.)
The state’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, ran on a pledge to support single-payer health care — but was mocked by opponents, including former Los Angeles mayor and fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa — for lacking any plan to implement it.
In his first act in office, Newsom wrote a letter to Congress and the White House asking them to make it easier for states to implement single-payer plans by providing more money, effectively “passing the buck.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.