The fallout of the collapse of an attempt to impose a single payer health care system in California is proceeding apace. Various interest groups, such as the California Nurses Association, are unhappy. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont has expressed his displeasure. Now, according to the Sacramento Bee, California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Reardon, who pulled the bill from this year’s legislative schedule, is the object of violent protests and even death threats.

Government health care advocates enraged

Reardon is reporting that he and his family are getting death threats on social media.

One of the threats offered a prayer that someone check his baseball practice schedule, an explicit reference to the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and others at a baseball diamond by a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter,

Reardon’s office has been the scene of two violent protests conducted by the California Nurses Association. One sign read, “Inaction means Death.” One protestor took out a fake knife with the name “Reardon” written on it and pretended to stab a person dressed as a bear. Nurses union President RoseAnn DeMoro accused Reardon of being in the pay of corporate donors. Other union leaders sprang to the speaker’s defense and urged that the rhetoric be toned down.

Why did Reardon pull the single payer bill?

The key problem with the bill was that it would have tripled California’s state budget from about $200 billion to $600 billion. The bill had no provision as for how to pay for the extra $400 billion. Had it contained such a provision, a tax increase, a two-thirds majority in the California legislature would have been required to pass it.

Already facing a tax revolt over a relatively minor gas tax and car licensing increase, even the Democratic-dominated state legislature would have likely balked, killing single payer outright.

Why would anyone want single payer, government run health care?

The question revolves around the tendency to listen to hope over experience.

Government run health care has had serious problems in many countries where it has been tried. Canada has long wait lists for medically necessary procedures. Great Britain has what are in effect death panels that withhold treatment, especially from the very old or very young, judged to be either terminally ill or too expensive to be kept alive. Even in the United States, the VA health care system has become a mess with veterans held on secret waiting lists and being denied promised care.

However, hope springs eternal that some way might be found to give free or cheap health care for all through government fiat. Proponents, though, are becoming more insistent, even to the point of becoming violent, if events in California are any indication.