California dreamin’: Damn the deficit; full speed ahead on health care for all

Editor's 2 Cents

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I thought maybe this was a joke, but I researched it and found it to be utterly, jaw-droppingly, stupefyingly true:

The California Senate voted 22-14 on Jan. 28 to create what one group is calling a “Medicare for all” health-care system that would cost “about” $200 billion a year.

Say what?

No, this really has to be a joke.

Isn’t this the same California that has close to a $20 billion budget deficit and is currently asking for a handout of $6.9 billion from the federal government to tide them over? Isn’t this the same California that has lost more than a million jobs since the recession began, and has seen tax revenues shrink at the same time as seeing food-stamp and welfare enrollments jump?

Isn’t this the same California where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger says he may have to eliminate numerous social programs such as health insurance for kids and Home Support Services for the elderly, blind, and disabled?

Isn’t this the same California that was forced to issue IOU’s to taxpayers last year in lieu of a a good-old-fashioned check with the magic words “Pay to the order of...” emblazoned on it?

And, finally, isn’t this the same California that is occasionally mentioned as the first state likely to file for bankruptcy?

To answer my own questions: Yes, yes, yes, yes and YES!

The vote to create the state-run single-payer health system was along party lines, with just one lone Democrat voting no. God bless him. Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana — was quoted at www.calwatchdog.com as saying his focus is “jobs, jobs, jobs, and not some bill without details. I do believe we need health care reform in this state, but this is not it.” He mentioned the cost of the bill and the lack of certainty about what exactly the bill would do.

Sound familiar?

Those are the same complaints that led to the massive popular rebellion against federal health-care reform — and to the election of Scott Brown to the Senate from Massachusetts.

But apparently the message hasn’t gotten to California yet — at least not to the California Senate. Or maybe they are just hoping the whole Tea Party movement will fade away and they can get on with their business of bankrupting the state without interference.

Oddly enough, there has been relatively little national attention to this vote in California, even though a bankruptcy in that state would have ripples the size of tsunamis on the entire world economy.

The story even seemed to be buried by the California press. The San Francisco Chronicle website had a four-paragraph account on the vote that announced blithely, “The proposal would create the California Health System, which would be funded by pooling all federal and state money California currently spends on health care and a yet-to-be-determined payroll tax. It is anticipated to cost about $200 billion a year.”

And where did this infinitesimal story about the behemoth spending plan appear in the print edition of the Chronicle? The website helpfully points out that “this article appeared on page C-3 of the San Francisco Chronicle.”

Good to know the Mainstream Media is not ignoring important news!

n Frank Miele is managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake and writes a weekly column. E-mail responses may be sent to edit@dailyinterlake.com

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