Single-Payer Health Care Unites, Divides Democratic Candidates for CA Governor

Villaraigosa and Newsom (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)
Reed Saxon / Associated Press

The four Democratic candidates for Governor of California all agree that the state should move to a single-payer, government-run health care system. They just disagree about whether it is possible without a plan to pay for it.

That is the outcome of Sunday’s debate in Anaheim — a short distance from where the California Republican Party’s convention was held — in a forum sponsored by the National Union of Healthcare Workers. The two Republican candidates, John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), were invited but declined to attend.

As the Orange County Register noted, there was little that divided the Democrats — Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, State Treasurer John Chiang, and former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin. “Policy distinctions were largely a matter of emphasis and nuance, as the four all took staunchly pro-union postures while calling for statewide universal healthcare and vowing to fight White House-backed efforts to crackdown on those in the country illegally,” the Register noted.

But Newsom and Villaraigosa clashed over single-payer health care. Newsom enthusiastically supports the idea, while Villaraigosa wants to see a plan to pay for the socialization of California medicine before backing it. “As governor, you gotta make the tough choices, you can’t just say ‘I want pie in the sky,’ because that doesn’t put food on people’s tables,” Villaraigosa said, according to the Sacramento Bee. Newsom argued that single-payer health care was merely a “question of leadership,” and that once it became law the means to pay for it would be found.

Newsom is the frontrunner, and received an additional boost with the endorsement of the California Teachers Association this weekend.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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