California’s Democratic lawmakers blocked universal health care legislation — the culmination of a successful lobbying campaign to portray the proposal as unrealistic and unaffordable. But days later, advocates of a universal health care system in which the government is the single payer got three boosts.
First, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — a prospective 2020 presidential candidate — said Democrats should support legislation to create a single-payer system. Then influential investor Warren Buffett declared his support for such a system. And most recently, a new poll from Quinnipiac University found 60 percent of Americans now say they support “an expansion of Medicare that would make it available to any American who wants it.”
The California situation, though, exemplified the ongoing political challenges for such a proposal — even in a state with a Democratic supermajority, where government already pays 70 percent of the health care bill. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown had in 1992 declared his support for single-payer, explicitly saying states could create such systems. However, even as he made headlines slamming Donald Trump’s health care proposals, he refused to support the single-payer initiative in his own state.
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