Earlier this month, Democrats filed a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would impose hefty new taxes on businesses and individuals to pay for the system. The taxes would generate roughly $163 billion per year, and the amendment would give lawmakers the power to raise those taxes to keep up with costs.
Supporters hope both proposals — the bill to create the system and the bill to pay for it — will move forward together this year. But Monday’s deadline is only on the bill that would create the system. Still, that hasn’t stopped opponents from connecting the two issues.
“A vote for this bill is naturally a vote for the taxes that come along with it,” said Preston Young, a policy advocate with the California Chamber of Commerce who is leading a coalition of 130 companies against the bill. “Health care costs continue to increase, so the tax obligations correlated with it will go up as well.”
Supporters say Californians and their employers are already paying exorbitant amounts for health care through high deductibles, co-pays and monthly insurance premiums. This bill, if it becomes law, would eliminate all of those and replace them with taxes.
“Sure, there is sticker shock. But there should be sticker shock for how much we are paying now,” said Stephanie Roberson, director of government relations for the California Nurses Association. “What are we getting? People are still uninsured. People are still underinsured. People are going into medical debt. People have to reach tens-of-thousands of dollars of deductibles. We’ll eliminate that under this program.”
Leave a Reply