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Single-payer healthcare is popular with Californians — unless it raises their taxes

 (Rich Pedoncelli / Associated Press)
(Rich Pedoncelli / Associated Press)

Almost two of every three Californians in a new statewide poll said they like the idea of a single-payer, government healthcare system, but far fewer support the idea if it includes a tax increase.

The poll released Wednesday night by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that 65% of adults surveyed support the creation of a single-payer state healthcare program to cover all of the state's residents, and 56% of likely voters approved of the idea. Opinion was sharply divided between Democrats (75% support) and Republicans (66% oppose) who were surveyed.

The single-payer proposal under consideration in the state Capitol, Senate Bill 562, assumes at least $50 billion in new taxes to fund the healthcare system. Asked about taxes, support drops to 42% of the adults surveyed and 43% of likely voters. While a majority of Democrats in the PPIC poll continued to support the idea if it means more taxes, support drops substantially among unaffiliated "independent" voters.

The state Senate is expected to consider the single-payer bill before the end of the week. A legislative analysis put the estimated total cost of a new healthcare system that covers all Californians at $400 billion, while an analysis released on Wednesday by supporters provided a $331-billion estimate. The pending legislation by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) does not identify what taxes would be raised but makes the enactment of the plan contingent on a full funding proposal.

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