New taxes could fund single-payer health care in California – Orange County Register

By SOPHIA BOLLAG and JONATHAN J. COOPER

SACRAMENTO — A longshot California proposal to replace insurance companies with government-funded health care for all could be paid for with a sales tax hike and a new tax on business revenue that together would generate $106 billion annually, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report was made public by the influential California Nurses Association as the state Senate faces a Friday deadline to vote on the bill, which outlines how a single-payer health care system would function but does not say how it would be funded.

In a study commissioned by the nursing union, researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst suggested a 2.3 percent sales tax and a 2.3 percent gross receipts tax, which would apply to all corporate revenue. Poor residents would get a tax credit to offset the higher sales tax.

Union leaders have said they were waiting on the report to suggest a funding source for the single-payer bill they are aggressively promoting.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Gov. Jerry Brown, both Democrats, have expressed skepticism about the proposal. If it were to clear the Legislature and be signed into law by Brown, it would need cooperation from President Donald Trump’s administration to waive rules about federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars.

But California’s single-payer proposal has energized liberals at a time when Trump and Republicans in Congress are looking to roll back parts of former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Because California’s proposed health care plan would eliminate out-of-pocket health care costs for consumers, like copays and deductibles, the study said overall health care spending would decrease for the middle class while rising for people with higher incomes.
“This bill will be the model for the nation,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, which represents about 100,000 nurses. She called the measure a “moral…

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