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California Gov. Jerry Brown on paying for universal healthcare: 'How do you do that?'

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a rally of congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (Alex Wong/Getty)
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a rally of congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (Alex Wong/Getty)

Gov. Jerry Brown stuck to his skeptical view on matters of broad healthcare reform on Wednesday, dismissing the idea of a universal healthcare system as something akin to a financial impossibility.

"Where do you get the extra money? This is the whole question," Brown said in an interview after wrapping up a day's worth of events and meetings in Washington.

The governor won applause at an earlier Capitol event in the day, criticizing Republican efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act with a smaller, cheaper program.

But in the wide-ranging discussion with reporters later, he dismissed any notion that it might soon be time to look for a different way to fund healthcare in California — including the idea of a single-payer, universal system.

"I don't even get it," said the governor. "How do you do that?"

He pointed out that the overall cost of medical care in California is equal to 18% of the state's gross domestic product, which would be about $450 billion.

"You take a problem and say I'm going to solve it by something that's even a bigger problem, which makes no sense," he said.

Brown also rejected the idea that it might soon be time to look for ways of finding the billions of dollars his administration thinks would be cut if the GOP healthcare plan is enacted.

"The first idea is to do everything to prevent it from happening," he said of the Republican plan. "That story will be known in a few weeks; we'll go from there."

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