California Universal Health Care Bill Fails

Adam Quintero

The California Universal Health Care bill failed to pass on January 31st, 2022. Ash Kalra, California Assembly Member and author of the bill, didn’t put it up for a vote because he soon found out the bill would not pass. This bill offered all kinds of health care access, with no out-of-pocket expenses, to all residents in the state of California, regardless of age, sex, race, and social status. Examples of universal health care include antenatal care, rehabilitation, health education, and environmental services. 

This isn’t the first time a Universal Health Care bill has failed to pass. Back in 2017, the halting of the Healthy California Act brought hundreds of protestors outside of the office of Anthony Rendon, who is a Speaker of the California State Assembly. Rendon had paused the bill’s near completion, bringing in factors such as funding, and how it would be implemented into society. This brought outrage from California residents, and state senators Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, who introduced the bill, announced they would continue pushing the bill until it is passed. 

One of the biggest debates about this bill is how much it’ll cost. According to NPR, the financing costs for healthcare in 2022 are estimated at  $356.6 billion at least, which is 94 billion more than California’s total operating budget, $262 billion. One of the solutions that have been proposed to help pay for this bill is new taxes on wealthier businesses and individuals. According to the Tax Foundation, these new taxes would increase by about $12,250 per household and would generate about $163 billion a year, giving California a little more financial flexibility.

John W. North High School Economics teacher Mr. Fuentes gave his input on the situation. “I think universal health care is beneficial for the wellbeing of the majority of people, a lot of people in the U.S. get sick for various reasons, even if they are healthy, they may need urgent care, and money should not be a reason for someone to not seek any kind of health support, and I think universal health care would actually help bring prices down and help out the U.S. economy with having a system that has more providers and more competition.”

One of the biggest debt issues in America is medical debt. For lower-income families with no health insurance, especially in times like this with COVID, it is hard to pay back hospital bills. Many people do not seek medical assistance in avoidance of having to pay to get treated. Students who have families with these kinds of problems could really benefit from universal health care. Yet this could lead to an economic crisis, which is one of the many reasons this law is still being debated to this day.