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On June 23rd Speaker Anthony Rendon chose to stall SB 562, the Healthy California Act, putting it on hold in the Assembly Rules Committee instead of moving it forward to a committee for a hearing, vote, and where amendments could be made. Friday, July 14th was the last day Speaker Rendon could move the bill forward under the regular Assembly timeline rules…and he didn’t. But we are far from done. Speaker Rendon still has the power to move the bill forward until mid-September by suspending the regular rules.
This means SB 562 is still alive and well but needs your help to make sure Speaker Rendon and our Assemblymembers choose guaranteeing healthcare and ending the suffering so many Californians experience from crushing medical debt and lack of access to healthcare. Our incredible grassroots movement has the power to move this bill by moving our elected leaders.
Here are 2 ways you can help SB 562 move forward!
1. Call your Assemblymember Until They Join the Fight for SB 562!
Dial 1-855-271-8515 and enter your zip code to be connected directly to your Assemblymember. Here’s what you can say: "Insurance companies continue to be a middleman profiting off healthcare as Californians suffer. The Healthy California Act (SB 562) would remove the insurance middleman and save $37 billion a year while guaranteeing medical, dental, vision and more. Do you support taking insurance companies out of healthcare? Will you co-author SB 562 and support moving the Healthy California Act forward this year so we can?”
2. Get involved!
Contact your local regional coordinator to find out how to get active locally (find them at healthycaliforniaact.org/find-regional-coordinator), and get social on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
The single payer health care bill, the Healthy California Act (SB 562), successfully made it through the State Senate but Speaker Anthony Rendon has prevented it from going to a floor vote in the Assembly. Rendon has called the bill “woefully inadequate,” even though here has not been one hearing on it in the Assembly, nor a chance to offer amendments. Redon’s move to scuttle the bill has been a blow, but the bill’s backers, particularly the California Nurses Association, have vowed to keep fighting, and are calling for the bill before the end of the legislative session in mid-September.
In a July 14 blog, National Nurses United Executive Director, RoseAnn DeMoro, wrote:
Despite efforts by the political establishment to shut it down, the quest for a state based, Medicare for all type system in California, based on patient need, not corporate profits, rolls on.
DeMoro cited an economic study led by Robert Pollin, which concluded that the Act "could deliver decent health care to all 39 million California residents while also lowering overall costs of health care by about 8 percent relative to the existing system." Under Pollin’s recommended approach virtually every California household and business would spend less on health care than they do today.
She also highlighted a point that Lydia O’Neil and David Sirota made: that "donors from the health services sector and major health insurers gave more than $16 million to Democratic candidates and the California Democratic Party in the 2014 election cycle." To read DeMoro’s full blog, see the NNU website.
On Wednesday, California’s single payer health care bill cleared its first hurdle, moving out of the Senate Health Committee with a 5-2 vote. The Healthy California Act (SB 562) would establish a publicly run healthcare system that would cover all Californians regardless of immigration status.
The bill has significant public support and is endorsed by dozens of organizations who are part of the Healthy California Coalition (the RPA joined in January 2017); as well as California cities such as Richmond, whose City Council unanimously voted on April 18 to adopt a resolution supporting SB 562.
Among Senate and Assembly members, there is support for the single payer concept but significant reservations around how to pay for such a program. Currently economist Robert Pollin of University of Massachusetts - Amherst is preparing a financial study which should be completed in May.
Wednesday’s Committee vote was preceded by a large rally, where Senator Ricardo Lara, one of the bill’s co-authors, stated: “We want to insure that everyone has care, because this is who we are as a society. California has the courage to say it’s finally time to remove the insurance companies from the decision-making on how we get care in this country. It is time to say once and for all, that healthcare is a right, not a privilege only for those who can afford it.”
Senator Toni Atkins, co-author of SB 562, said, “California will not go back. We are not standing still. We are going forward.”
Forward and onward!
As you know, President Trump and Republican leaders are moving quickly to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut Medicaid - threatening the healthcare and lives of millions of low to moderate income Americans while handing huge tax cuts to the rich and big healthcare corporations. By mid-April, we could be living in the new world of Trumpcare nationally. In California though, we have the opportunity to not only resist these extreme attacks on our healthcare and lives, but to expand and create the healthcare system we truly need – guaranteed, comprehensive, universal healthcare for all regardless of income or immigration status.
Last month, the Healthy California Act (SB 562) was introduced by Senators Lara and Atkins as a key step towards creation of a single payer universal healthcare system for all Californians, and a broad-based statewide coalition, Healthy California is coming together to advance this exciting, visionary campaign for healthcare justice.