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Burton Pushes Brown to Support Single Payer

by: Brian Leubitz

Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 08:21:41 AM PST

At the (CYD Caucus) CDP poolside shindig last night, the big news was that I missed the tamales on the buffet. I was enraged! I was more enraged by the fact that Jerry Brown took the last one.  

Ok, Ok, I kid. The real big news was the converstaion between Brown and CDP Chair John Burton.  As Brown and Burton were engaged in small talk, Calitics reader lindasutton came up and brought up the question of single payer.

Brown responded by saying it was never going to happen. That it wasn't going to happen at the federal level, and that he wasn't sure about it at the state level.  Burton then interjected saying that it would, and should, happen.  After Brown hemmed and hawed for a while, saying that it wouldn't happen, Burton responded with this remark: "I thought you were supposed to reach beyond the stars."

I'm not quite sure what Brown's response was, as it was a bit mumbled. I think it was something to the effect of it's not going to happen.  A remarkable evening, all in all.

UPDATE by Robert: I too was standing there, tamale-less, watching this fascinating exchange between two of the leading California politicians of the 1960s and 1970s. It was an interesting contrast in basic political approaches. Burton emphasizes progressive principles - his older brother Phil created the Medi-Cal program in the early 1960s and he believes that single-payer is the right solution to the health care crisis. Brown emphasizes a pragmatic approach, one that will never embrace a progressive solution on its merits unless it is already popular with voters.

Interestingly, Brown's statement on single-payer - "it'll never happen" - is the same position President Barack Obama has. The difference of course is that Obama was able to create a campaign based on a clear message of hope and change that was able to generate high levels of enthusiasm among progressives to help him win. Brown, on the other hand, hasn't yet offered any larger vision for progressives to embrace, so his dismissal of single-payer is going to be more of an obstacle.

Marcy Winograd, who is again challenging Jane Harman for the Democratic nomination in CA-36, suggested an interesting approach to this: progressives should tell Brown if/when he wins that "we celebrate your victory and look forward to you singing the single-payer bill."

Brian Leubitz :: Burton Pushes Brown to Support Single Payer
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DNC election results: (5.00 / 1)
Female: Doten. Male: Zakson.

Congrats to Becca! (0.00 / 0)
And wow, I expected Henry to win. Zakson isn't really a surprise though.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
male race was ridiculously close (0.00 / 0)
Zakson 119, Vandermeir 114.  As a friend and supporter of Zakson, I'm hoping Henry runs again. I think he would be an extremely positive influence on our DNC delegation.

[ Parent ]
Brown's Response (8.00 / 1)
From my vantage, Jerry Brown had replied that there wasn't any money to pay for the bill. Brown said if Burton could get the money for it, then he could support it. Also, there was an exchange at the end of the conversation where Burton told Brown to announce, or "Dianne will" to which Brown chuckled. An interesting evening indeed.

regarding that point (0.00 / 0)
it sure would have been useful for burton to not have totally given up on the promise he rode into the party chair on, namely supporting a 50% budget and revenue initiative.

[ Parent ]
Pat Brown always found a way... (0.00 / 0)
I came to CA after Pat had been governor and had the good forture to meet him when I was Carter's LA Media Coordinator in '76. It was the time of giants. Pat, Jesse, Kenny, and yes, the Burtons.

What fascinated me about Pat was his incredible ability to get things DONE for California and finding a way to PAY for what we needed. He was a visionary and the consummate politician who LED the people and made our state the leader in so many ways. Those since haven't lit a candle to the number of things he accomplished.

For those younger, please get and read "The Life and Times of Pat Brown: California Rising" by Ethan Rarick. It covers the whole gamut of California politics of the last century.

So... (0.00 / 0)
Pre-Prop 13, while there was still such a thing as a moderate (even liberal) Republican?  

I'll be the first to agree that the current crop of Democrats are feckless at best, but structure matters.

[ Parent ]
I don't suppose this story will end the Cult of Jerry (0.00 / 0)
Naaaah, I am sure that any day now we will hear how single-payer is really a Republican plot, and Jerry's too progressive to fall for it, and this is all "Good News for McCain".

At least Jerry Brown Speaks the Truth on Single Payer (0.00 / 0)
Seriously, folks, with billion dollar deficits, single payer isn't in anyone's universe. When the CNA and others defeated the Democratic health care plan in the Legislature two years ago, they killed an opportunity to expand health care to millions of Californians, particularly children. The dream of single payer is just that -- a dream. And it's a cruel hoax for people that really need insurance to keep bringing this up, when everyone knows that it's incremental attempts to get universal coverage are attainable and more realistic. At least Obama has the good sense to realize that instead of touting a pie in the sky. And p.s., Jerry Brown will never get to sign the bill unless Democrats have a 2/3 majority in the legislature, since it needs taxes to pay for it and will be the single largest item in the state budget.

Single-payer saves money (6.50 / 2)
Before following naysayers off the cliff saying single-payer can never happen because of the costs, we should look at the savings from single-payer.  I did that in Santa Monica, where I'm a Councilmember and single-payer advocate, and our finance department calculated we would save six million dollars a year just in payroll costs for our own City employees.  Details are on my website at http://www.mckeown.net.

This past weekend, at the same Exec Board meeting where Brown and Burton tangled over tamales, a resolution sailed through based on Santa Monica's findings, calling on Democrats across the state to ask for the same calculations.  Let's see what the balancing public savings might be before we abandon single-payer because of costs.  Sure it will cost:  insurance companies, who have a loud voice in Sacramento.  We all know that.  But could the cost to Californians be offset by public savings and the clear benefit of true healthcare for all?

Kevin McKeown
Santa Monica City Councilmember

[ Parent ]
You're both right. (0.00 / 0)
Single payer is the best answer to the health care crisis.  And it's not going to happen anytime soon.  So we should continue to educate and show people why it's the best idea -- and at the same time, move forward with a host of incremental improvements, like the good parts of the bills underway in Washington, even though they are frustratingly incomplete.

[ Parent ]
Correction (0.00 / 0)
It was a California Young Democrats poolside shindig.

2010: We Vote. Dems Win.


Single payer will help SAVE the state MONEY, Jerry!! (0.00 / 0)
About 7:45 Pm Saturday, I was coming out of the hotel carrying my resolution on the cost savings analysis of healthcare for all and  a copy of the Santa Monica Mirror article about Kevin (McKeown)and an analysis showing that the city of Santa Monica would save $6million with a single payer plan. Dorothy (Reik) was with me and Jerry Brown was at the door while Cara (Robin)was talking to him.

I had the opportunity to ask him about single payer and his reply was that there wasn't enough money for that.

I replied that cost analyses had shown that the City of Santa Monica would save $6 million dollars and that the City of Santa Clara would save $190 million dollars. I added that it would give candidates the ability to say that the Republicans were the big spenders on health care and the Democrats were for better service with savings.

He looked at me and I put the papers in his hand. He rolled them up and carried them as we left. I went to the Progressive Caucus and he went his way. I don't know whether this incident was before or after Brown encountered Burton.

Leah K. Herzberg

Good for Burton (0.00 / 0)
He clearly isn't waffling on this.

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