The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Taking from the Poor, to Give to the Rich

Jun 12, 2023

In 2020, California began charging people with no health insurance a fine. At the time, Governor Gavin Newsom and his fellow Democrats who control the California legislature promised that they would use the money raised from this fine to partially compensate out-of-pocket costs such as insurance premiums and deductibles.

It was a lie. Not only did California keep all the money it collected, but now, in his new budget, Newsom put that money into the state’s general fund.

It’s a lot of money, amounting to 1.1 billion dollars after three years, projected to increase to 1.8 billion dollars in two more years. And California Democrats can now hand all that money to big companies in the form of tax breaks, as they regularly do.

In California, 2.5 million people don’t have health insurance. Many working-class people pay the fine rather than buying insurance, because insurance plans are not only expensive, but they also feature very high deductibles. For example, for what insurance companies call a “mid-tier” plan for individual buyers, deductibles have gone from 3,700 dollars in 2021 to 4,750 dollars this year to 5,400 dollars in next year’s offers. That’s a 46% increase in three years!

No wonder more than half of the Californians who responded to a recent survey said that they had skipped or delayed medical treatment in the past year for financial reasons. And that includes people who have health insurance. A survey by Covered California, the state’s health insurance market, found that 48% of its customers delayed important medical care because of cost.

This “fine” on the uninsured is nothing but a tax on the poor people who can’t afford health care. It’s an insult on top of injury!

In this country’s two-party system, Republicans are for the wealthy, and the Democrats are … just the same!