Newsom’s Expansive Health Care Promises To Californians Remain Elusive

Five years ago, while running for governor, Gavin Newsom pledged to transform California’s medical care to a single-payer system similar to those in Canada and western Europe.

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Newsom backed single-payer legislation, which had passed the state Senate, saying there was “no reason to wait around.”

“I’m tired of politicians saying they support single-payer but that it’s too soon, too expensive or someone else’s problem,” Newsom said.

His position helped solidify support for Newsom among the proposal’s progressive advocates as he dueled with a fellow Democrat, Antonio Villaraigosa.

The bill stalled in the Assembly, and after winning the election, Newsom began edging away from the single-payer concept, citing difficult barriers. One is persuading the federal government to give California the $200-plus billion it spends on Californians’ health care – about half the state’s total medical expenditures.

Newsom segued into pursuing universal health care, meaning all of the nearly 40 million Californians would have some sort of coverage, and came close last year.

At the time, “About 3 million Californians reported being uninsured in spring 2022,” a report from the Public Policy Institute of California notes, citing census data. “Nearly seven in 10 (68%) are Latino, about 38% are noncitizens and 80% have low or moderate incomes (below 400% of the federal poverty line).”

Some of the gap was closed in the 2022-23 budget, drawing on what seemed to be a nearly $100 billion budget surplus, by extending Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented immigrants otherwise ineligible for federally subsidized insurance.

“Beginning no later than January 1, 2024, Medi-Cal will be available to all income-eligible Californians,” the final 2022-23 budget declared.

The expansion of Medi-Cal – California’s version of the federal Medicaid program – was made easier during the COVID-19 pandemic when federal authorities relaxed eligibility requirements. This year, enrollment topped 15 million, or nearly 40% of the state’s population.

Under his “California Blueprint,” universal health care is still Newsom’s professed goal. However, at the moment, coverage appears to be shrinking, and with the state facing chronic budget deficits, reaching it before Newsom’s governorship ends would be difficult, if not impossible.

The federal government’s “continuous enrollment” pandemic policy is expiring and hundreds of thousands of Californians who benefited from it will once again have to prove their eligibility.

Newsom’s revised 2023-24 budgetunveiled last month, projects that Medi-Cal enrollment will decline by more than a million people, still more than a third of the state’s population but moving away from the universal coverage Newsom has sought as a single-payer substitute.

Single-payer advocates are, unsurprisingly, annoyed by Newsom’s failure to deliver on his 2018 promise. They gave him some heat when he appeared at last month’s state Democratic Party convention.

Covering all Californians would be expensive. Medi-Cal coverage costs federal and state governments about $10,000 per enrollee. No one knows precisely how many Californians still lack coverage today but 2 million is as good a number as any, and including that many more in Medi-Cal could potentially cost another $20 billion a year.

Meanwhile, single-payer advocates haven’t given up. Last week, the California Senate passed Senate Bill 770, aimed at implementing a plan for single-payer coverage developed by the Healthy California for All Commission, which Newsom created in 2019.

The bill would direct state agencies to begin talks with federal officials about participating in a California single-payer system.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters


  1. Rottweiler says

    This flaccid, corrupt, inept progressive is merely a grifter and the voters of California deserve him. He had a track record when he and Gascon ruined San Francisco and they still voter for him like sheep. Their punishment should be to stay in this crime ridden, expensive/non-sustainable state instead of being free to move and crap up a red state because they like the safety and economy of a stable blue state. These voters are the most vacuous, stupid, Marxist loving socialists and they deserve all that is promised but never received. By the way did you ever notice everything the DNC progressive, KKK originating party of hate they touch turns to crap? Well it does.

  2. Rottweiler……couldn’t have said it any better………except these communist fascist racist socialist morons will say and do anything that will get them elected, and the morons just continue to vote for them regardless of the cities and states they destroy (and I live in Kommiefornia).

  3. Amy Sellers says

    Why did ‘t we jus de-poverty-use poverty like we decriminalized crime?
    That lowered crime rates immediately. We could end poverty in California!

  4. Sure is funny how people have forgotten how Communist state-run medical care worked. Only the elitists in government had the best medical care in a state-run government. The Politburo of Sacramento will have the best medical care and the people who make a lot of money (I have no problem with people who make a lot and are rich. This is what America is all about. The land of the free (sometimes) and opportunities. It is your choice to get out and make the best of what you can do and have). But, having a government control medical care? I don’t think so. I also agree with Rottweiler (I love Rottweilers); the original KKKs were Democrats who wanted government control of our lives.

  5. Rottweiler says

    Excuse me and my rush, I meant that the CA voters always move to a red state because of the safety, while the blue states are third world like NY, Chicago, California, HI and a variety of other blue states. They move there and then vote blue and muck up another great place “red state” to live.

  6. Rottweiler says

    You should see how the trans are ruining the medical field. I got asked to do an MRI on a male, still intact with fun package for “menstrual cramp”. What the heck? I cannot practice with anything other than the truth but when you get women wanting prostate checks and men with menstrual cramps I am out of there. The trans population all 0.0143% will ruin medicine for the 99% all to affirm their mental illness. You also don’t have to put a sex on the birth certificate. This is outrageous, the insane (progressive DNC) are running the asylum.

  7. Government run health care will NEVER work. Without COMPETITION health care schools and bureaucrats will always fail us. Government can never keep up with a meritocracy only feed off it.
    Let the free market compete for ALL our needs. Everybody wins! That is what makes America great.

  8. Ditto! LoL

  9. Such robust comments! I am still in Commiefornication, sadly.

  10. Gav Gruesom likes to blow big ideas and grab shiny objects out his arse, but when reality slides off his greasy head he is stumped and goes on to something else. Like the the wind from the same arse it dissapates and just leaves a foul odor behind…..

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