Blast from the Past

Single-Payer Plan Would Harm State’s Economy, Editorials Warn

fragile economy snippet

“Supporters of Proposition 186, the single-payer health initiative on the November ballot, say it’s like Canada’s universal health care system. In truth, it is less Canadian than drearily Californian: It promises something for nothing, it’s bad for the economy, it favors the old over the young, and it aims at creating yet another unwieldy and unaccountable element of government. … By loading a new payroll tax on businesses that do not now purchase health insurance, California would give them new reason to relocate to states where costs are lower. The state’s fragile economy doesn’t need that blow. … The prospect of Canadian-style universal health coverage is enticing to many Californians. But this badly drafted and bloated plan wouldn’t pass muster even in Canada. We need health reform, but not this one. No on Proposition 186.”

– Editorial in The Sacramento Bee, October 2, 1994. In a similar editorial, the Los Angeles Times wrote October 9, 1994, that Proposition 186 “is a mix of medicines that no good doctor would prescribe” and “would be another incentive for business to downsize or simply move to another state.” CalTax President Larry McCarthy signed the ballot argument against the measure. The single-payer initiative was soundly defeated, receiving only 26.6 percent of the vote (6,110,899 “no” to 2,212,691 “yes”).