Newsom's office insists no tax hikes to pay for health care expansion
The plan would provide coverage for everyone age 26 and up, regardless of immigration status
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is hoping to make his state the first to offer universal health care to all residents, but it would mean raising taxes to help pay for it.
Newsom announced the plan earlier this week, stating that he wants to provide access to coverage for everyone living in the state, including illegal immigrants.
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"Here in the largest state in our union, the state of California, we are positioned with this budget to be able to deliver on what we’ve been promoting: universal health care for all, regardless of pre-existing condition, regardless of the ability to pay and regardless of your immigration status," he said.
The plan would be an expansion of Medi-Cal which currently serves Californians ages 50 and older. Newsom's new plan would extend this to people ages 26-49, regardless of immigration status, beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
The Democratic governor also had a message for those who oppose such a move, claiming, "We have universal health care in this state, in this country, but it’s only on the back end. It’s called the emergency room and it’s costing you, the taxpayer, a fortune."
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"We said we were going to do it," Newsom said. "We said it would take a few years. We're committed to doing it."
Newsom said his state's budget surplus would help in paying for the program, which he said was estimated to cost upward of $2 billion.
The governor's office explained to Fox Business that this has nothing to do with a bill for single-payer health care that is simultaneously making its way through the California state legislature.
Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, a Republican who is now running for Congress, has railed against that legislation, which would raise state taxes a total of $163 billion to pay for health care. On Tuesday, he confirmed that the Assembly’s Health Committee approved a single-payer health care measure by a vote of 11-3. The new taxes would be imposed on individuals and businesses earning more than $149,509 a year.
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H.D. Palmer of the California Department of Finance, made clear that Newsom's proposal is "separate" from that bill.
"There are no tax increases associated with what the governor is proposing," he said. Newsom's proposal, he said, would be paid for "straight out of existing revenues. He explained that the state is projecting new revenues beginning with the next fiscal year, and that a portion of those revenues would go toward the Medi-Cal expansion.