Gavin Newsom wants to be the next governor of California, and he’s planning to offer taxpayer-funded healthcare to all of the state’s illegal immigrants.
Newsom, the current lieutenant governor and former mayor of San Francisco, laid out his grandiose plans during a recent segment on Pod Save America, a progressive political broadcast put together by former Obama staffers.
Newsom touted his work implementing government funded healthcare in San Francisco that included coverage for illegal immigrants, and suggested California’s next governor could use it as a template to expand coverage statewide.
“I did universal healthcare when I was mayor – fully implemented regardless of pre-existing condition, ability to pay, and regardless of your immigration status,” he said. “San Francisco is the only universal healthcare plan for all undocumented residents in America – very proud of that, and we proved it could be done without bankrupting the city.
“I’d like to see that we could extend that to the rest of the state,” Newsom said.
To accomplish that, Newsom contends the issue “needs to be pulled into the governor’s office, the executive needs to lead it,” and pointed to Obamacare as an example of how to get it done. He also offered high praise for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who served as Speaker of the House at the time.
“Obamacare would not have happened if it was just exclusively a legislative fiat. That said, Nancy Pelosi did a magical job of organizing it, but it required the concerned contributions of the president of the United States,” he said.
“The only way in a state whose population is larger than 163 nations – California’s economy is larger than all but four nations, the fifth largest economy – to approximate a strategy for universal healthcare is with the support and concurrence of the governor,” Newsom continued.
“Frankly it’s not an indictment, it’s just what’s been missing in the past,” he said. “So I would bring that into my office …”
Newsom’s plans, however, aren’t very popular with the state’s hospitals, doctors and business groups, which have a coalition called “Californians against the costly disruption of our health care” to push back against government-run healthcare.
“As long as proponents plan to bring this back time and again, we think it’s important to have a strong, unified presence to oppose it,” Ned Wigglesworth, the group’s political consultant, told the Sacramento Bee.
Yet despite the opposition, proposed alternatives could still ultimately extend coverage to illegal immigrants, and would likely employ many of the same strategies used to implement Obamacare.
“The anti-single payer coalition includes powerful groups representing the interests in Sacramento of doctors, hospitals, insurers and businesses,” the Bee reports. “Instead of single-payer, the coalition is expected to press for alternatives, which could include several legislative proposals on health care that failed this year and some under discussion, including expanding state insurance subsidies, allowing undocumented adults to sign up for Medi-Cal and creating a state-based individual mandate for everyone to have coverage.”