Single-payer healthcare meets its fate again in the face of California’s massive budget deficit

The latest attempt to bring a single-payer healthcare system to California failed in the state Legislature on Thursday, undercut by its steep price tag as lawmakers struggle with a mounting budget shortfall.

Assembly Bill 2200, named Guaranteed Health Care for All — or CalCare — hoped to set up a universal single-payer healthcare system for all residents of California, but it died on Thursday in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“We have an obligation to balance the budget in California,” said Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), chair of the committee. “There were some tough choices to make.”

Wicks said she was a co-author of a previous single-payer healthcare bill , but told reporters that lawmakers had to weigh the financial burdens that accompanied this sweeping proposal. t

CalCare was projected to annually cost the state $392 billion. Meanwhile, California is grappling with a $45 billion deficit.

“I’m a big believer but at the end of the day it’s a very expensive endeavor, one that is worthwhile that we should continue as the years go on to try to implement,” she said. . “But it was a difficult choice to make because of the current budget environment that we’re in.”

Just two days ago, volunteers for the California Nurses Assn., a staunch supporter of single-payer, were calling state lawmakers in hopes of a better outcome. Assemblymember Ash Kalra joined the nurses and told them to “fight like hell” as a crowd of advocates cheered.

“There’s no one I’d rather fight with than the nurses,” he said.

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