Tag Archives: single payer

Progressives Vow to ‘Fight Like Hell’ as California Single-Payer Bill Withdrawn

“We are not gonna give up on our patients,” said California Nurses Association president Sandy Reding. “We are there when they take their first breath, we are there when they take their last breath. We will prevail.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-31-2022 by Common Dreams,

Advocates for A.B. 1400, California’s single-payer healthcare bill, pose for a photo at one of the numerous automobile caravan rallies promoting the measure. (Photo: National Nurses United)

California progressives on Monday expressed shock and outrage as a bill that, if passed, would have delivered single-payer healthcare coverage to the nation’s most populous state was withdrawn from a highly anticipated floor vote in the state Assembly.

Minutes before A.B. 1400—the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act—was scheduled for a floor vote in the California State Assembly, co-author Ash Kalra (D-27) pulled the measure from consideration. Monday was the last day for the bill on the legislative calendar. Continue reading

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Caravans Across California Set to Hit the Road as State’s Single-Payer Bill Advances

“Single-payer healthcare is long overdue, and while we push for Medicare for All nationally, California can lead the way by enacting CalCare.”

By Brett Wilkins  Pubished 1-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Single-payer healthcare advocates prepare to participate in an April 16, 2020 auto caravan in Ukiah in support of A.B. 1400, also known as CalCare, which would provide all California residents with medically necessary care with no co-pays, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket costs. (Photo: Bob Dass/Flickr/cc)

As a bill to deliver single-payer healthcare to Californians is set to advance to a state legislative health committee next week, more than a dozen automobile caravans will take to the streets of cities and towns across the Golden State on Saturday to promote and show support for what could be a first-in-the-nation universal care program.

The proposed legislation, A.B. 1400 or CalCare, would provide all medically necessary healthcare to every California resident, regardless of immigration status, with no co-pays, deductibles, or out-of-pocket costs.

A related bill, Assembly Constitutional Amendment (ACA) 11, that was introduced Wednesday by Assemblymembers Ash Kalra (D-27) and Alex Lee (D-25)—two of A.B. 1400’s primary sponsors—would fund CalCare via a gross receipts tax, payroll tax, and a personal income tax on high earners.

On Thursday, A.B. 1400, which had previously stalled due to questions over how it would be funded, was approved by the Assembly Rules Committee—with strong Republican opposition—and will advance to the Health Committee next week.

At least 15 California caravans are planned for Saturday, from San Diego in the south to Eureka in the north. California Nurses Association (CNA) will host a rally and car caravan to the state Capitol in Sacramento.

“A.B. 1400 and ACA 11 provide Californians a clear understanding of what they can expect from a truly publicly financed, single-payer healthcare system and allows them to decide for themselves if they are better off paying for the most expensive healthcare in the world with the worst outcomes of any wealthy nation or guaranteed healthcare for all with CalCare while reducing overall healthcare costs,” Kalra said in a statement.

“Those that profit off the immoral status quo may not like it, but I am confident that the vast majority of working and retired Californians will see the benefit of significant cost savings as we remove debilitating insurance costs, out-of-reach prescription drugs, and arbitrarily high hospital fees,” he added.

Mike Bonin, who serves on the City Council of Los Angeles—one of more than two dozen municipalities supporting the bill—said in a statement that “single-payer healthcare is long overdue, and while we push for Medicare for All nationally, California can lead the way by enacting CalCare.”

“Unanticipated medical expenses should not doom people to bankruptcy, poverty, or homelessness,” Bonin continued, noting that A.B. 1400 “would offer healthcare coverage to three million uninsured Californians. As we have done with the minimum wage and the fight against the climate crisis, California can lead and show what’s possible.”

Oakland City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Sheng Thao said that “in Oakland, we know health disparities overwhelmingly impact our BIPOC communities in East and West Oakland. As cities across the state work to end health disparities we need California to step up and reaffirm that healthcare is a human right, that nobody should go bankrupt because they are sick, and that our health system prioritizes patients over profit.”

“They can do this by passing AB1400 this year to expand quality, affordable healthcare to every Californian,” she added.

Stephanie Roberson, CNA’s government relations director, said that “in 2022, we already have one guarantee: out-of-pocket healthcare costs for Californians will continue to sharply rise. This time, let’s guarantee Californians can get the care they need without going into medical debt, starting a GoFundMe campaign, or going homeless or not paying for food or heating bills instead.”

Activist Ady Barkan, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), noted that “our whole society has been profoundly disrupted by the Covid pandemic because we have built a healthcare system that prioritizes profits over people, and private wealth over public health.”

“Our state leaders must listen to our cities—large and small—who bear the brunt of our healthcare crisis and deliver guaranteed health care for all through A.B. 1400,” he added.

While then-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, supported single-payer legislation in the past and called for such a program while campaigning for governor, he has not taken a position on CalCare.

“I don’t know how to do it, because it’s never been done,” Newsom said of single-payer during his gubernatorial run in 2018. “But I believe it can be done. And if any state can prove it, we can. I’m willing to tackle this.”

In addition to the 26 cities and Santa Clara County—home to San Jose—that support the bill, groups including the California Democratic Party, the California Labor Federation, CNA, Public Citizen, and various local chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) back the measure.

“Guaranteed single-payer healthcare for all people regardless of citizenship status would have made my family’s life much more stable and safe when we were undocumented immigrants,” Dr. Haemin Cho, secretary and co-chair of the Progressive Democrats of America’s San Francisco chapter—a supporter of A.B. 1400—told Common Dreams. “CalCare is the best thing we could do during this crippling pandemic to ensure all families are safe from financial ruin due to illness. It can save lives and stabilize our economy.”

Lee, the legislation’s co-author, lamented that “despite being the richest country in the world, the United States is still the only country in the developed world without a system of universal healthcare.”

“The pandemic has made evident that tying your healthcare to employment isn’t just antiquated, it’s dangerous,” he added. “Now is the time to realize healthcare is a human right—and California will lead the way with CalCare.”

This work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
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‘Outrageous’: 46 Million Americans Say They Would Not Be Able to Afford Healthcare If They Needed It

“The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—cannot solve it.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-31-2021

Dr. Christina Bastin De Jong, a critical care physician at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, shares a light moment with Jimmy Porter, who was on the mend following a serious bout with COVID-19, on Thursday, Dec. 10. (Photo by Derek Montgomery for Essentia Health)

A new study released Wednesday morning shows that nearly 50 million Americans would be unable to afford quality healthcare should the need for treatment suddenly arise, a finding seen as further evidence of the immorality of a for-profit insurance system that grants or denies coverage based on a person’s ability to pay.

“People can’t afford their goddamn healthcare,” Tim Faust, a proponent of single-payer healthcare, tweeted in response to the new report. “Families spend less on food so they can make insurance payments. This problem is felt by all, but concentrated among poor people and black people. The American model of health reform—throwing money at private insurers—can not solve it.” Continue reading

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‘Seems Like a Good Policy!’ CBO Shows Medicare for All Could Cover Everyone for $650 Billion Less Per Year

The analysis shows that administrative costs under a single-payer healthcare system “will be lower than what even the most rabid Medicare for All supporters have traditionally claimed.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-11-2020

The barriers to Medicare for All, wrote Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project, “are not technical deficiencies or costs, but rather political opposition from Republicans and conservative Democrats who would rather spend more money to provide less health care.” Photo: Public Citizen/flickr/CC

The Congressional Budget Office on Thursday released a report examining the costs associated with universal healthcare proposals that are based on Medicare’s fee-for-service program and found that implementing a single-payer health insurance program in the United States would not only guarantee coverage for every person in the country but would also reduce overall healthcare spending nationwide.

In the words of researcher Matt Bruenig—founder and president of the progressive think tank People’s Policy Project who called the CBO’s working paper (pdf) on the topic “more exhaustive than any other recent study on the subject”—the new analysis shows that administrative costs under a single-payer healthcare system “will be lower than what even the most rabid Medicare for All supporters have traditionally claimed.” Continue reading

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Demanding End to ‘Rotten’ Opposition to Medicare for All, Doctors and Nurses to March on American Medical Association’s Annual Meeting

“It’s time for the AMA to join the majority of physicians who support improved Medicare for All.”

-By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-7-2019

Medicare for All Rally, Los Angeles – Feb 2017. Photo: Molly Adams/flickr

Accusing the American Medical Association of putting “profits ahead of patient care” by joining the corporate fight against Medicare for All, a coalition of physicians, nurses, and allies plans to march on the organization’s annual meeting on Saturday to demand an end to its longstanding opposition to single-payer.

The AMA is America’s largest association of physicians, one of the largest lobbying organizations in the U.S., and a founding member of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future, a coalition formed by insurance and pharmaceutical interests to combat Medicare for All. Continue reading

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‘I Felt Americans Needed to Know’: Insurance Industry Whistleblower Gives Glimpse of Effort to Crush Medicare for All

“The business model of for-profit health insurance depends on denying care to people who need it. These corporations can’t be reasoned with, only defeated.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-12-2019

“When the people begin organizing against private insurance, the lonely insurance executives turn to their only friends: the elected officials beholden to their cash,” said Medicare for All campaigner and policy expert Tim Faust. (Image: Miami Business School)

In an effort to inform the public about the corporate forces working to crush Medicare for All, an employee at the insurance giant UnitedHealthcare leaked a video of his boss bragging about the company’s campaign to preserve America’s for-profit healthcare system.

“I felt Americans needed to know exactly who it is that’s fighting against the idea that healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” the anonymous whistleblower told the Washington Post‘s Jeff Stein. Continue reading

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To Galvanize Local Organizing for Medicare for All, Nurses Union to Kick Off Nationwide ‘Barnstorms’ This Weekend

“I know people with diabetes literally dying because they cannot afford their insulin.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-8-2019

Volunteers across the country, coordinated by National Nurses United (NNU), are hosting Medicare for All barnstorms Feb. 9 to Feb. 13. (Graphic: NNU/Twitter)

Building on rising public support for scrapping the nation’s for-profit healthcare system and replacing it with Medicare for All, the nation’s largest nurses union—along with progressive allies—on Saturday will kick off a week of barnstorms in cities and communities across the United States.

Volunteers nationwide, coordinated by National Nurses United (NNU), are planning more than 150 events from Feb. 9 to Feb. 13. Continue reading

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With Power to Kneecap Bold Demand, Incoming Democratic Tax Committee Chair Says Medicare for All ‘Not Realistic’

“Two decades of generous donations apparently gets you a powerful congressman willing to throw up roadblocks in front of universal healthcare.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-6-2018

Ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) speaks during a news conference on Republican plans to end the state and local tax deduction, on Capitol Hill, October 12, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Photo: C-SPAN screenshot

As progressive House Democrats strategize and push for a vote on Medicare for All legislation as soon as possible, surging congressional and grassroots momentum for single-payer could soon run into a serious obstacle in the form of incoming Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who has denounced Medicare for All as “not realistic” and will soon be in a position to tank healthcare plans that are unacceptable to his insurance industry donors.

“Neal will have near total control over what tax-related policies come to the House floor, including legislation that would create a Medicare for All healthcare system,” noted investigative reporter Eoin Higgins in a piece for Sludge on Wednesday. “Having Neal at the helm of the committee, rather than a more progressive member, makes it much less likely that the House of Representatives will vote on universal healthcare measures.” Continue reading

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‘A Staggeringly Bad Idea’: Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would ‘Kneecap the Progressive Agenda’

“This is a very bad idea, House Democrats. It makes no sense whatsoever to give Republicans veto power over progressive legislation.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-16-2018

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

Nearly three-quarters of the American public and a historic number of Democratic lawmakers support Medicare for All, but the House Democratic leadership is considering using its newly won majority to impose a rule that would “recklessly betray” the grassroots forces that put them in power by making single-payer and other progressive priorities impossible to enact.

According to a list of Democratic proposals obtained by the Washington Post, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)—who is currently fighting back against efforts to prevent her from becoming House Speaker—is pushing for a rule that would “require a three-fifths supermajority to raise individual income taxes on the lowest-earning 80 percent of taxpayers.” Continue reading

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Koch-Funded Hit Piece Backfires: Shows Medicare for All Would Save ‘Whopping $2 Trillion’ Over Ten Years While Covering Everybody

“If every major country on Earth can guarantee healthcare to all, and achieve better health outcomes, while spending substantially less per capita than we do, it is absurd for anyone to suggest that the United States cannot do the same.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-30-2018

If the billionaire Koch brothers really want to undermine the economic case for Medicare for All, they have a funny way of showing it.

Judging by the headlines alone, it would appear that the newly published study projecting that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) widely popular Medicare for All plan would cost $32.6 trillion over the next decade was conducted by an official, neutral body seeking the facts, not pushing an agenda.

Read a bit further, though, and you’ll discover that the analysis—released Monday morning—was produced by the George Mason University-based Mercatus Center, which has received millions of dollars in funding from the right-wing billionaires Charles and David Koch, who have previously expressed support for abolishing Medicare and Medicaid entirely. Continue reading

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