Will California Be The First State With A Universal Health Care System?

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A proposal that would make California the first American state to have a universal health care system cleared a legislative committee in the state Assembly this week. But according to KQED, it's still a long shot away from becoming law.

Assembly Bill 1400, which cleared the Assembly Health Committee on an 11-3 vote, would start a universal health care system called CalCare.

Many Republicans and other organizations oppose the Democrat-backed bill because it would increase taxes.

According to the California Taxpayers Association, the bill would raise taxes by an estimated $163 billion per year.

"If government-run health care becomes law, millions of Californians will flee the state — either to avoid the $163 billion per year in new taxes or to escape the lengthy waits for care that will become the norm," said Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron.

KQED reports that even some Democrats who voted for the bill have criticisms for the proposal.

Author of the CalCare proposal, Assemblymember Ash Kalra said he expected opponents would focus on the cost of the plan but this distracts from the fact that Californians are already paying "the highest health tax in the world."

"You may refer to it as premiums, deductibles, co-pays, denial of care," Kalra said, saying none of those costs would exist under a universal health care system. "It's clear as day they are being fleeced, and far too many understandably feel helpless about it."

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