Update on “Improved Medicare 4 All”
CA Senate Bill 562
By Terrie Brady (Links, resources, and photos from Maureen Cruise)
What is SB 562, The Healthy California Act (Lara and Atkins)? It’s a bill to provide single payer healthcare coverage for all for Californians. Many of us became familiar with the concept through the film “Sicko” by Michael Moore. This film shows that “single-payer” health care covers all the health needs of citizens in many countries: Canada, France and Britain for example. This is coverage without co-pays, without exclusions of life-saving services or “pre-existing conditions”. In the US it’s often referred to as “Medicare for all.” Medicare allows doctors to treat patients without insurance companies limiting what services are allowed. Insurance companies are for-profit enterprises. Because they’re in business to make money, they may deny services that are beneficial to our health in order to maintain their profit margin. This conflict of interest may be interfering with the health services practitioners provide and patients need. Better than Medicare, Healthy California Act covers more services than Medicare such as vision, hearing, medical devices and dental for everyone. It removes part B payments and provides for Part D. The costs would go down because there would not be an insurance industry removing their share of the profits from the health care system. Pharmaceutical prices would be negotiated fairly. The US now ranks 40th in the world for access to health care, 50th in maternal/child health. Yet we pay more than anyone in the world, to cover fewer people for less service, worse outcomes.70% of current medical expenses in California are already taxpayer funded. As the Billionaires, a street theatre group, sang of the insurance companies recently at the Doodah parade in Pasadena: “We are the only thing that stands between your doctor and you”.
Where is SB 562 now? It’s shelved in committee, thanks to some politicians who have received contributions from insurance companies. Hearings on other forms of healthcare coverage are being held in Sacramento. These hearings are scheduled through December on weekdays. Requests for hearings in different parts of the state and on weekends so the public could actually attend were denied by Assembly Speaker Rendon (who is facing a recall effort). These other bills maintain the status quo. None of them is single payer.
If SB 562 was made law, how would it affect Californians? Every Californian, rich or poor, would have health care, not just health insurance. There would be dental coverage as well. Costs would go down because there would not be an insurance company removing their share of the profits as “overhead” from the health care system.
How can we help it pass?
- Contact Assemblymember Rendon at (916) 319-2063 and ask him to support SB 562, single payer, and release it from committee.
- Attend the monthly HealthCare4All-L.A. meeting on December 14 at the Peace Center, 3916 S. Sepulveda Bl., Culver City. The HCA-LA Chapter mission is to educate, activate and motivate people to participate in advocating for just, equitable, accessible, comprehensive, affordable, and quality healthcare in a publicly financed universal single-payer system. Monthly agendas include speakers, presentations, group discussions, films, opportunity for action in our communities. Become a member: http://www.healthcareforall.org. Join the fight for Senate Bill 562 Healthy California Act. http://www.healthycaliforniaact.org. Subscribe to our mailing list for updates, information and calendar: firstname.lastname@example.org (See calendar for more details)
- There will be one more 2-day “public” hearing in Dec. in Sacramento during the work week by a select committee on health care. Requests for hearings in different parts of the state and on weekends so the public could actually attend were denied by Rendon.
- Join in actions to move Senate Bill 562 Healthy California Act through the legislature. We leaflet every Sunday outside “Hamilton” at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Meet at 3:30pm to canvass the matinee leaving until 4:30. Refreshments & social time. Flyer again 6:00-7:00 pm for the next show. Wear a RED Shirt. Join the Health Care Justice Revolutionary Brigade at the Pantages. (See the calendar section of this publication, under ongoing events, for more details)
Participate in fun activities like the recent SB562 contingent in the Doodah Parade.
parade by Cary Winston Eatmon courtesy of Maureen Cruise
- Get more informed, discuss it with your friends: Read the articles from California Nurses Association and Healthy California. Links for more info:
Join the fight for Senate Bill 562 Healthy California Act:
Follow @calnurses on twitter
Above, the Billionaires and HC4All-LA members in Pasadena. You can watch the skit on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzEHsQ06alQ. Photo of group at the Doodah parade by Cary Winston Eatmon courtesy of Maureen Cruise.