Newsom’s unfulfilled campaign promise for single-payer healthcare comes back to haunt him

Written by Urvi Sakurikar

It seems that the empty promises Governor Gavin Newsom made during his 2018 campaign are coming back to bite him. State democrats and democrat voters are calling on Newsom to create the single-payer health care system he promised while on the campaign trail.

At the time, he admitted that “[He does not] know how to do it, because it’s never been done,” but pledged to make it happen. 

Now, 3 years into his term as governor, not much progress has been made. 

“Governor Newsom campaigned for single payer….These are the things [Healthy California Now, an organization of unions and healthcare activists] are trying to hold him to”, insisted Eric Vance, an organizer. 

The pressure went up even more on Friday when Assemblymember Ash Kalra from San Jose revealed plans to push California further in the direction of a single-payer program. This bill lays out a healthcare plan, however, it leaves many high-stakes aspects to the whim of an established governing board. 

For one, Kalra’s bill does not cover the rerouting of federal money into a singular program, fails to mention a source of funding, and does not discuss the payment of hospitals and doctors. 

The timing of the demand for a single-payer system creates a very politically contentious situation for Governor Newsom. With the campaign for his recall having over 1.5M signatures and more Californians turning against him every day, ignoring his own party’s wishes will only land the Governor further in trouble. 

Clashes between Newsom and state Democrats are becoming more and more frequent. As of late, Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco brought up a bill that involved a ban on hydraulic fracturing, yet another unfulfilled campaign promise made by Newsom. When questioned by a reporter about the bill, Newsom refused to comment

State Democrats have also introduced a bill to reopen schools, despite the governor working on his own school reopening plan. The divide between Newsom and the state democrats is becoming more apparent with each passing day.

Despite the overwhelming support among Democrats for a single-payer system and other commodities promised at the beginning of Newsom’s campaign for governor, Newsom has failed to live up to voters’ expectations and has little to show for his three years in office. 

All Californians, including Newsom’s fellow Democrats, want a leader who will step up and enact changes that were promised, and that leader clearly cannot be found in the current governor. 

Photo by Rich Pedroncelli, AP Photo