The first official debate between the top four Democrats running for California governor took place in Anaheim over the weekend.
The event was hosted by the National Union of Healthcare Workers and fittingly, the only issue the candidates had significant disagreements on, was healthcare.
John Chiang, Anthonio Villaraigosa, Delaine Eastin and Gavin Newsom debated affordable housing, immigration and Washington D.C., among other issues.
VILLARAIGOSA “NO PIE IN THE SKY”
Antonio Villaraigosa, the former Mayor of Los Angeles, said he supports the concept of a state single-payer system, but probably not at the current cost that healthcare paradigm brings.
The estimated costs for single-payer are anywhere between $330 billion and $450 billion annually.
Villaraigosa said, “You can’t just say I want pie in the sky, because that doesn’t put food on people’s tables.”
NEWSOM “SINGLE-PAYER IS THE WAY”
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom dismissed Villaraigosa and his budget concerns.
Newsom cited a UCLA study that found Californians already pay roughly $367.5 billion for healthcare through private insurance and public programs.
Newsom said, “The fact is the money exists in the system. The money is not being well invested. A single-payer system provides the ability to provide more efficiency and more cost controls … I’m not going to wait around for the debate to unfold in Washington, D.C.”
EASTIN AND CHIANG FAVOR DIFFERENT APPROACHES
Former state schools chief Delanie Eastin noted she supports single-payer but couldn’t clearly define how taxpayers would pay for it. Eastin said, “I’m not sure exactly. But it’s doable.”
State Treasurer John Chiang also favors universal healthcare, but suggests a slower approach would be the responsible path. Chiang said, “We don’t have to go all in and provide all the services at once.”
According to those who attended the debate, Newsom and Eastin fared the best.