When we last left the California State Legislature, it had discovered, much to its horror, that its plan to impose a government-run, Canadian-style health care system would essentially triple the state budget and hence the tax burden for Californians. The left-leaning lawmakers in Sacramento really want universal healthcare as much as Christians crave salvation or a drunkard needs his next drink. But that kind of tax and spending increase was too much, even for them. So California decided to punt.

Universal healthcare has always been dashed on the rocks of its cost

Universal or single payer health care has been the holy grail of the left at least since the Teddy Roosevelt administration. The idea that the government can run a massive industry such as the practice of medicine efficiently and cheaply may seem quaint for most people, but the idea of “free” health services is a beguiling one. Medicare, for the elderly, and Medicaid, for the poor, were always seen as stepping stones toward that goal. The collapse of Obamacare is considered as an opportunity to nationalize the health providing industry.

However, the main factor standing in the way of single payer has always been cost. Vermont, a small state with a homogeneous population, tried going down the path and balked because of cost considerations.

Colorado rejected a ballot initiative for government-run health care. Now it is the turn of California, the most populous state in the Union,

California punts

However, California lawmakers discovered that imposing single payer would cost $400 million a year, for starters. To understand the scale of the undertaking, the entire state budget, bloated to be sure, is but $200 billion.

What to do?

According to the Sacramento Bee, California has decided to punt, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon has declared the government health care bill to be “woefully incomplete” and thus dead for the current session.

The decision has incensed the California Nurses Association which, for some reason, wants to institute a system that has resulted in health services rationing and death panels where it has been tried elsewhere.

In any case, the nurses are threatening to primary state lawmakers in 2018. They do not want to hear about a proposal to put the matter on a state ballot initiative.

Bernie Sanders pushes for ‘Medicaid for all’

While California steps back from the brink, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, fresh from his defeat in the 2016 presidential race, is still pushing for his “Medicaid for all” scheme. Republicans are still trying to unravel Obamacare, which is gone into a full-bore death spiral. The political chaos surrounding the various government schemes to help us go to the doctor continues.