Image by Michael Havens via Flickr Creative Commons

A Tour for California Health Care Justice

By Judy Hess

With the attacks on healthcare for indigent people in Fresno, on unions and their health benefits everywhere, with the current attempt to savage (and privatize) the U.S. Postal Service with its largest union in the United States and with poverty rampant, it is now more important than ever for the people to come together and secure healthcare for every California resident. There is a way, allowed for in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

California’s SB 810 provides healthcare for every resident of California in the style of more comprehensive Medicare. More about the bill follows.

A new organization, the Campaign for a Healthy California, has been formed with the sole purpose to organize and pass SB 810, Vermont has passed such a bill and can show Californians a way forward. The Campaign’s California Health Care Justice Tour comes to Fresno on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union Hall (4422 E. Ashlan Ave.). Although there is no admission fee, a donation to defray expenses for the Vermont Workers’ Center would be gratefully accepted.

The following luminaries in the field of single-payer healthcare will be there:

  • James Haslam of the Vermont Workers’ Center will explain how grassroots organizing succeeded in passing Vermont’s single-payer healthcare bill. His experience and success will help provide a blueprint for obtaining universal single-payer healthcare in California.
  • Donna Smith, who is with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee and was featured in Michael Moore’s documentary, Sicko, will share her story exemplifying the need for single-payer healthcare.

Additional speakers will also be announced.

Why does SB 810 matter?

Beyond the standard Medicare healthcare protections, SB 810 provides dental and vision care. There are no deductibles or co-pays. Healthcare is privately delivered through the doctors and hospitals of the patient’s choice but is publicly funded. Finally, it evicts the insurance company representative from the treatment room.

Through elimination of insurance company overhead (including rapacious CEO compensation) and profits, by pooling premiums of old and young, healthy and sick, and through quantity purchases of prescription medications, billions of dollars can be saved in our state healthcare costs each year. These savings fully fund SB 810, putting insurance premium money back in the pockets of Californians, their unions, their school districts, retiree plans and all health plans.

The bill is in the Appropriations Committee of the Senate and is slated for hearings in January. The Committee has asked for a second financial study, which the Campaign for a Healthy California is working on.

The Justice Tour promises to be a lively, educational and entertaining panel discussion about getting California’s single-payer healthcare plan passed, as Vermont has done so well.

*****

Judy Hess is the regional coordinator of the Campaign for a Healthy California. Contact her at judyhess@gmail.com.

  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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