Small Business Advocacy Helps Stop California Single-Payer Healthcare Legislation

Date: February 03, 2022

The bill’s author withdrew legislation before a full Assembly vote, due to a lack of support

The most talked about legislation in California is dead for the year, thanks in part to the advocacy of small business owners who spoke out against its unaffordable and unsustainable tax increases and costs.

Introduced last year, the clock was ticking on Assembly Bill 1400, which called for making California the first state in the nation to institute a comprehensive single-payer healthcare system that would have precluded all others (private insurance, Medicare, Medi-Cal, Tri-Care). It had until January 31 to either pass the Assembly or die.

The rush was on. After initially appearing to have the wind behind its sails, in the end, the lead author of AB 1400 could not find the votes for passage and pulled it from consideration before a vote could be taken.

“The action of the hundreds of NFIB members who spoke out against Assembly Bill 1400 was crucial in stopping California’s latest attempt to pass single-payer healthcare legislation,” said NFIB’s VP of State Government Relations Tim Goodrich. “Anti-small business policies like California’s proposed single-payer healthcare system would add massive and unsustainable tax hikes at a time when small businesses are already struggling to survive and recover.”

The hundreds of NFIB members in California who spoke out against the bill urged their Assembly Members to oppose it. In response to an NFIB Action Alert, small business owners sent messages in droves to California Assembly Members.

For now, it looks as if Californians can breathe a collective sigh of relief at the end of AB 1400, but the issue is likely to come up again. Several other states are considering comparable legislation, as is Congress. A similar bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 1976, the Medicare for All Act of 2021) is cosponsored by more than half of the Democratic Representatives in the U.S. House and was supported by several Democratic candidates for President in 2020.

More Information On The Fight To Stop Assembly Bill 1400

In an NFIB California Podcast, Assembly Member Jordan Cunningham, an opponent of AB 1400, said “The Cal Care Trust Fund, even with $162 billion in tax increases, will be insolvent Day 1 to the tune of $70 billion.”

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11, the financing mechanism for AB 1400, is also dead. The scope of AB 1400 was audacious, herding every single healthcare decision into one state agency, CalCare, and its price tag was astronomical.

NFIB California was part of a coalition fighting to defeat AB 1400. In a coalition letter to Assembly Members, it was pointed out that, “Single-payer healthcare must not be confused with free healthcare – there’s nothing free about a government run health plan. AB 1400’s funding mechanism, ACA 11, proposed increasing Californians’ taxes hundreds of billions of dollars to fund the government run healthcare system. Proponents have indicated the taxes will generate $160 to $170 billion annually. This proposal would be the biggest tax increase in state history and punish Californians by increasing personal income taxes, payroll taxes, and gross receipts taxes. This enormous tax increase would occur at a time when California is experiencing a $31 billion surplus – a surplus that pales in comparison to the annual expenditures a government run health system would demand.”

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