Donald Trump and his colleagues in the GOP claim to have one mission: repeal Obamacare and replace it with something supposedly better. After the Congressional Budget Office found that such a move would leave over 20 million uninsured in the country, some of his party balked. The far right wing of the GOP, however, felt that the GOP plan didn’t go far enough and rebelled because they wanted even less government support for healthcare. Consequently, nothing has been done so far.
What is interesting is that all this talk about abolishing the Affordable Care Act has caused California to revisit the idea of creating its own single payer system for its residents, essentially a Medicare for All plan within just one state. It takes a large pool of people to make such a plan work and California is one of the few states with enough people to probably make this work. The California legislature put forward similar plans in 2006 and 2008 but they were thwarted by then Governor Schwartzenegger.
A 2005 study indicated that such a plan could save the state a third of a Trillion Dollars over ten years. Interestingly, the Congressional Budget Office in 1991 and 1993 studied a similar plan for the entire United States in which they found that such a plan could cover everyone in the country and still cut the per capita cost of health care.
Although California has a long road ahead of it before this idea might actually become reality, it will be interesting to watch because it has implications for the entire country. It is important to remember that in some countries universal coverage did not happen overnight either. In Canada, for instance. the history of their single payer system shows that it started with a single province and then a second, and then the whole country.
So the fascinating question with regard to US health care is, will Donald Trump and the GOP be remembered as the catalyst for bringing universal health care to the last industrialized nation on earth that lacks it? If California is successful, it is entirely possible that, as California goes, so goes the Nation.