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$400 Billion Price Tag for California Single-Payer Bill

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — State experts say a California bill that would provide government-funded health coverage for everyone in the state would cost $400 billion and require significant tax increases.

Demonstrators hold up signs March 9 in front of Congressman Jeff Denham’s Modesto office in a fight to keep their health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The Legislature’s financial analysis released Monday says much of the cost would be covered by existing state, federal and private spending on health coverage. But the analysis says total health care spending would increase by $50 billion to $100 billion a year.

The entire state general fund budget is $125 billion.

SB562 would eliminate traditional insurance companies and guarantee coverage for everyone. The state would contract with health providers and pay the bills for all residents similar to the way the federal government covers seniors through Medicare.

The concept known as single-payer has energized liberals who are pushing Democratic lawmakers to approve the measure.