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Healthcare bill will be another unfunded mandate for cash-strapped California

by Christopher A. Guzman, published

According to the conclusion from observations noted in an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury, the federally mandated healthcare bill that the House will vote on this weekend is a bad bill for the state of California.  The Governor’s office is saying the bill imposes an “unfunded mandate” on California, posing a burden on the state.

According to the Mercury: “The legislation also does not increase California's rate of federal matching funds for Medi-Cal, one of the lowest in the nation — another complaint of the governor's. (The federal stimulus money, however, has provided some temporary relief on that front.)”  Essentially, Medi-cal would be underfunded with the new federal legislation, offering only temporary relief.   Not only will Medi-cal be underfunded, but the federal legislation will extort (yes, that is the correct word) new taxes from the state. These new taxes will not go strictly to California’s needs but to the overall cost of the legislation.

With the new taxes, the federal healthcare bill will exasperate an already sizable fiscal wound in California with the saltiness of "one-size-fits-all" government regulation.  According to the San Jose Mercury News op-ed, the governor’s office estimates that the bill will saddle the state with $2 to $3 billion in new taxes.  As a result, it throws another obstacle at California, considering that the state is already doing what it can to tackle its own fiscal deficit.

What good are the cuts that California is making if those very cuts are going to be canceled out by the new healthcare legislation?

Save the water deal that’s being offered to representatives in Central California, President Obama’s healthcare bill offers more harm than relief for California.  According to the legislation’s advocates, the federal government will pick up the tab of the uninsured better than a state medical overhaul proposed by the governor a few years ago.

The current bill, the Mercury says, will provide $9 dollars for every $1 dollar put up by state governments.  Under the state program proposed by the government a few years back, the ratio would have been $2 from the feds for every one dollar the state put up.  In addition, according to advocates cited in the Mercury, the legislation will slash the uninsured in the state by at least half.

At the same time, the measure only reimburses doctors for two years while the underfunded Medi-cal program is only expected to grow after the federal legislation is passed.  How is the state going to step in should Medical start fiscally tanking in a few years?

When it comes to conquering the budget, the unfunded mandate the federal government is imposing on California sets the state back at square one of their problems.  Mandating healthcare isn’t a power delegated to the feds in the U.S. Constitution; therefore, states should be allowed to tackle the problem as they best see fit (per the 10th Ammendment).

Most importantly, with the feds imposing an unfunded mandate like healthcare that some states won’t be able to afford, it is putting politics ahead of the general welfare.

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