The State wants to put its high-speed rail expertise at the service of everyone’s health

Timeshares in popular resort destinations sound good.

Your reservations are guaranteed.

If the seller is doing their job well, they will convince you that it will save you money.

But what they don’t give you in the sales pitch is what can turn a vision of heaven into hell.

You are stuck with the quality and service levels of the company that handles all the maintenance and operations of the timeshare.

If you find that you are locked into a specific time period and a specific location under the rules dictated by the umbrella company is not working, you can simply switch to another timeshare provider or go back to booking your own vacation rooms without incurring major financial losses and headaches.

Now consider that the state of California enters the timeshare business but instead calls it single-payer health care and makes the promised outcome not only worse, but traps you forever.

They guarantee you access to health care.

It’s good news if you have no coverage or limited coverage, but it’s also supposed to be good news if you do, because single-payer healthcare, just like timeshare, is featured as a way to control health care costs.

There’s the deduction that the costs are locked in, so it won’t cost you more than what you’re currently spending on your behalf or what an employer costs.

There’s also the talk of quality of care, much like the siren song of having a timeshare in a destination hotspot.

Timeshare horror stories, however, pale in comparison to the state of California’s potential to channel Freddy Kruger on steroids. If you trust the government can provide quality care with everything high-end and working well, think of two words – “public housing”.

And if you think government is a more effective and efficient alternative to the private sector when it comes to health care, just Google some of the horror stories of patients left at the mercy of the Administration’s paper pushers. Veterans.

If none of these examples have you watching before you blindly jump in as a voter at some point because Sacramento will need voter approval to pulverize the state government’s constitutional spending limit, spend a minute to recap the history of government as a bureaucracy and a regulatory agency.

Sacramento is so far out of the loop of efficiency and cutting-edge technology that its computer systems are a joke, it has self-confessedly dispersed at least $17 billion in unemployment assistance to those who commit fraud on a period of six months while failing to get checks into the hands of those who paid into the system and were in dire financial straits, and acting in a manner more frosty than expedient.

What could go wrong with putting Sacramento in control of your cradle-to-grave health care?

First, there is the siren song of the end of premiums, co-payments or deductibles.

It is made all the more attractive by guaranteeing that every Californian will be entitled to everything, including dental, vision, hearing and long-term care.

These promises create a mathematical question. If it already costs “x” dollars for what we collectively pay for premiums, deductibles and co-payments for the care we already receive, how would it not cost a lot more to expand and run the money raised through an enormous Sacramento bureaucracy that will be so large that it will create a mad rush of developers to erect huge office buildings in the capital.

Care, of course, will be rationed in many cases. This in itself is not bad unless one needs – or a loved one who does – specific procedures or medications. The assumption that anyone is going to run a carte blanche healthcare system until it knocks the economy off the cliff forgets that unlike the federal government, the state cannot create more money willy-nilly. States can go bankrupt just like individuals.

So how does Sacramento plan to fund what they estimate is a new annual cost of $400 billion on top of an annual state budget of $286.4 billion?

They will tax you and me directly as well as indirectly through the price of goods and services provided by businesses.

Keep in mind that the $400 billion annual cost is just an outline to get you signed on the dotted line. Sacramento politicians are salivating as they search for new trinkets to appease voters at the ballot box and essentially high ball promises and low ball costs. The $400 billion figure is not a real number. If in doubt, check the history of any major company in the state. The best example is the high-speed train. Its construction was to cost 33 billion dollars. It is now heading towards the $100 billion mark.

Remember how we were supposed to be able to get on a train in San Francisco in just five years and be in downtown Los Angeles in less than three hours? Remember how this would revolutionize intrastate travel and make everything green as the San Joaquin Valley ushered in a new era of prosperity? Remember that a one-way ticket would cost $90 to travel by train at over 200 miles per hour? Do you remember how we were told that the financial numbers in the business plan were so attractive that private sector investors would be tripping over to donate money to the state? Remember how well we were told the game plan was?

Considering they’ve spent billions so far and can’t even connect Fresno to Merced, what kind of comfort level do you have with Sacramento taking care of your health care and finding ways to fund it?

It starts with businesses with 50 or more employees being hit with a 1.25% payroll tax and ordered to collect a 1% payroll tax from their employees if you earn more than $49,000 per year. That extra 1% means those earning more than $61,213 a year would pay an effective income tax of 11.5% a year. That should make you feel good because it’s more than millionaires are paying in 49 states. The only state where millionaires pay less than an 11.5% effective tax rate is New York.

There would also be a graduated surtax of 0.5% that starts with income above $149,505 and peaks at 2.5% at $2,484,121.

The top marginal tax on wage income would rise to 18.05% and rise to 15.8% on capital gains and other unearned income.

And let’s not forget the 2.3% excise tax on businesses with more than $2 million in revenue as opposed to profit.

This will be passed on to you and me, as many affected businesses would have a low margin, as $2 million seems like a lot, but it reflects a business making an average of $5,500 a day.

In short, if you’re happy with the high-speed rail’s stratospheric costs, bait-and-switch tactics, and the fact that it’s nowhere near being able to carry passengers from Fresno to Merced, you’ll love what Sacramento can do to health care with its single-payer plan.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation.

Jose P. Rogers