Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “universal” health-care plan died in the California legislature on Monday, in what can only be called a mercy killing.
Like collapses in Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, this one crumpled because of the costs, which are always much higher than anticipated.
This reveals that liberal health-care politics is increasingly the art of the impossible: You can’t make coverage “universal” while at the same time keeping costs in check — at least without prohibitive tax increases. Lowering cost and increasing access, in other words, are separate and irreconcilable issues.
So the plan failed because it was too expensive — and because for some Democrats it wasn’t expensive enough.
Democrats also complained that the taxes the plan imposed on business, as high as 6.5% of payroll, weren’t high enough.
Voters are rightly concerned about health care, but they also don’t want to pay higher taxes to finance coverage for everyone.