Last week, the Assembly approved a bill (A.5062) that would establish a program of publicly-funded universal health coverage in the state. We’re not surprised that the sponsor was unable to answer a very simple question regarding the bill: what will it cost?

The sponsor claims that the bill would lower health care costs by eliminating the role of insurance companies, and would allow doctors to focus on treating patients instead of dealing with insurance companies. He projects a savings of $45 billion by 2019.

Opponents of the bill argued that the promise of better health care coverage at a lower cost is simply “too good to be true.” They note that the state’s current Medicaid system is extremely expensive, burdensome to doctors and not well-liked by those who are covered by it. They also expressed concerns about the bill cost the state thousands of insurance industry jobs. We share these concerns.

Thankfully, the Senate is not expected to take up the bill.