The short story is this: California's "single payer health care" proposal for this two-year session had to pass the State Senate by January 31 in order to stay alive. Despite the fact that Democrats control the Senate 25-15, it fell two votes short. Two Democrats, Lou Correa and Ron Calderon, voted no; four others refused to vote at all.
This was a shock without being a surprise. It's shocking that Democrats can control the legislature and yet fail to get one of our signature proposals through even one chamber. Yet we've dealt with these Senators before -- we've seen who gives them money -- so it was not a surprise.
The surprise came yesterday. Apparently, it was our fault that SB 810 failed. Not the insurance industry that fought so hard against the measure; not the pusillanimous Democrats who wouldn't defend it. Our fault: activists' fault. Why? Because we kept calling Senators' offices and some of us were allegedly obnoxious.
That's what the letter from the Director of Public Policy of the lobbying branch of the California Council of Churches says.
Can you hear Blue Cross screaming in the distance? Vermont is about to hit the road toward a real (if modified) single-payer health care--Medicare, but for everyone. Cut out the middlemen, save some money, cover more people.
We are coming down to the home stretch on healthcare, and we have seen the results of the first couple of rounds of crazy that have been sent forth in an effort to stop the process.
In addition to the Town Halls, opponents are flooding the email inboxes of America's "low information" voters with no end of lies. Those emails are getting passed around and around and around, and by now some of them have probably appeared in your inbox.
But it's summer...and who has time to respond to this stuff?
Well, guess what, Gentle Reader: I've already done the hard work for you.
Today's story is an email response that you can send right back to your "inbox friends". It's a reminder of some of the frustrations that we all share in this country and some explanations of what's being proposed...and a few words about socialism, to boot.
So get out there and copy and paste and forward and reply, and let's see if we can't fight the madness, one email at a time.
On Sunday, my campaign released a new poll of 400 likely 10th Congressional District special primary election voters that found our campaign holds a double digit lead over other Democratic challengers. When initially asked, 31 percent of likely voters chose me, while Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, and Anthony Woods received 21, 17, and 9 percent of the vote respectively. When voters were given a rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, our lead grew to 36 percent, compared to 22, 20, and 9 percent respectively. The poll was conducted by respected California pollster Ben Tulchin. If you are interested in more information, please see our press release and Ben Tulchin's memo. We are understandably excited by the results.
But enough about polls. In three weeks (or now for those who vote-by-mail), the people of the 10th Congressional District will face a choice. The challenges we face in Washington and in our region are as complex as they are diverse. The debates over health care, economic development, and education will shape the course of our society for decades to come, and I think I am the best candidate to fight for our side on each of these issues in Washington.
Let me start by saying that I am a supporter of single payer health care. It is the solution that makes the most sense in curing our health care ills and is the only system that offers a long term solution to availability, affordability and access. In short, it is the "gold standard."
Single payer health care passed the California Legislature this past Sunday. It is a great victory for proponents of universal single payer health care, but was hardly unexpected. All the hoopla over its passage is fine, but now the real work begins — continues really. Single payer is still not law and in spite of all the hopes that Governor Schwarzenegger will have a change of heart and sign SB 840, it ain't gonna happen. Just as he did last time, he is certain to veto it again this time.
I will be discussing this and other state political issues on KRXA 540 AM at 8 this morning
Today I will be in San Francisco for the National Day of Protest against health insurance corporations and for truly universal health care - which only a single-payer system can provide. I wanted to take a moment and explain why I will be out there demonstrating against these criminals.
I currently do not have health insurance. My part-time job does not offer it and when I last looked into individual coverage I could not afford what was being offered to me. But more importantly, it's not health insurance that I need - but health care. They are not the same thing. Health insurance companies have a long and ugly record of denying care and claims even to those they insure. We have discussed here the horrifying stories of Nataline Sarkisyan and Nick Colombo, young people whose insurers denied them life-saving treatment until protests forced them to back down. In Nataline's case, as we will never forget, it came too late, and she died.
Courage Campaign (where I do some work) has partnered with the California Nurses Association and LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo to put out an ad lambasting insurance company practices. It's based on the true story of Patsy Bates whose health insurance was canceled by HealthNet in the midst of her chemo treatments for breast cancer.
Speaking for myself, I see this ad and the protest at Moscone Center as fundamentally linked. Health insurance is a toxin, not a cure - the profit motive means that there will always be a desire to cut benefits, even in spite of government regulations (the recission practices Delgadillo is investigating are currently illegal under CA state law but they happen anyway).
Last year I was one of the leading voices on this blog against the mandated insurance plan proposed by Arnold and nearly passed by the legislature. It was not going to succeed in making health care more affordable and it was not going to succeed in making it more available. Mandated insurance plans haven't worked anywhere they've been tried in the US, including in Massachusetts - whereas single-payer systems have a long record of success around the world.
We protest, we fund ads, we get outraged, and we fight because we believe health care to be a fundamental human right. Every one of us deserves to have it when they need it, without regard to cost. When someone gets sick their first thought should not be "how will I pay for this?"
As we debate specific health care reforms, that focus on human rights needs to remain at the center of our work. Health insurance companies inherently disagree with it - to them health care is something only those who can afford it deserve to have. It is that mentality that we fight against and protest against today. I'm not naive; single-payer health care will not be an easy political victory. But as polls continue to show growing support for it, and growing revulsion at insurance company practices, it can't hurt to give Californians a reminder of why their health care is so screwed up - insurance companies are at the core of the problem. Today, we fight back.
Well, after so many grossly unfair debate formats that virtually tell each audience which candidates they are supposed to be interested in, Dennis Kucinich finally figured out a way to highlight this fundamental absurdity to his own advantage: Socratic Irony!
After again not receiving a fair amount of time to the other candidates, when it was his turn to participate in a segment that called for each candidate to actually ask a question to any candidate they choose to, Kucinich managed to display that sense of sarcastic wit and pragmatic questioning that Socrates turned into philosophical method; a dialectic which both entertains an audience preoccupied with what will be shown to be absurdity, as well as instructs to something more rational.
Fresh of one of the most family-oriented holidays of the year, I'm sure all of you will know exactly what I'm talking about with the following scene:
Half a dozen extended family members crowded in a small living room trying to accomplish a task nobody really knows how to do. At least twice as many proposals as people. And somehow everybody gets to thinking that if they just repeat their idea often enough, at loud enough volume, it will become the best idea. Total chaos. "Too many cooks," as they say.
Except we're not arguing about how to tell if the turkey is done, or what the best route to the movie theater is. We're arguing about how you're supposed to put an I.V. into somebody's arm.
Here's some responses to the false, but commonly made, criticisms of single-payer health care plans. H.R. 676 is a Congressional bill co-authored by Dennis Kucinich, has now gained over 75 cosponsors and the endorsements of powerful unions and organizations, such as the AFL-CIO, California Nurses, PNHP and One Care California, as well as Michael Moore. It would set up a national, not-for-profit, health care system in the United States and provide fully comprehensive health care to ALL Americans, including all primary, emergency and long term care, office visits, medication costs, dental, vision and mental health, as well as drug and alchohol counseling. Further it, eliminates all co-pays, deductibles and medication costs. It is the simplest, most reasonable and dependable solution for the U.S. health care crisis.
This week the LA Times/Bloomberg poll was released, showing among other things that Americans are very deeply pessimistic about the economy. Perhaps because of this, the poll suggests Americans have begun to turn against the neoliberal economic agenda promoted for the last 30 years. Specifically, enormous majorities support higher taxes if it will pay for universal health care. From The Big Picture's summary (linked above):
-A majority of Americans say they would tolerate higher taxes -- if it paid for universal health care;
Universal Health Care
-60% said they would be willing to repeal tax cuts to help pay for a health-care program that insures all Americans;
-Most of the highest income group polled, those in households earning more than $100,000, support it.
-More than 80% of Democrats say they like the plan; most Republicans oppose it. -Independent voters also support universal health care;
-52% vs 36% favored health and education spending as a better economic stimulus than tax cuts.
But what is significant about this poll is how progressive the public appears. Americans see right through the Republican "tax cut" ideology and prefer higher taxes to provide for a key social service. Further, they understand that universal health care and education spending are a far better economic stimulus than lower taxes. The entirety of economic policy in both California and the nation is predicated on the reverse.
As Atrios points out the main obstacle to universal health care in America isn't public opinion, but the lobbying money of the insurance industry. They present a formidable political obstacle. But polls like this show us that their obstacle can be overcome, if the public can be mobilized in favor of the right kind of solution.
The article explaining the poll results noted that independents lined up strongly with Democrats and behind Democratic solutions. Unfortunately, that same article also buried the numbers in favor of single-payer care.
(Events of the weekend... - promoted by Brian Leubitz)
Think that SiCKO isn’t already changing healthcare politics in this country?
Just through the California Nurses Association & National Nurses Organizing Committee, 15,000 nurses from across the country have signed up to help organize on the opening night of SiCKO, as part of the "Scrubs for Sicko" campaign to drive one million nurses to see the film. . More are signing up every day. Even more caregivers and patients have mobilized through Healthcare Now, Physicians for a National Health Program, the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and an unprecedented coalition of activist nurse groups from around the country. Real energy on behalf of guaranteeing healthcare on the single-payer model.
We’ll take a look, below, at what it all means. But first, we need you to Go here, download some flyers, and hit your theater Friday night (warning: pdf). Say hi if you see any nurses in their red “Scrubs for Sicko” scrubs.
Everyone’s diggin’ and groovin’ on my riposte to state senator Tom Harman’s lame attack on SiCKO and SB 840in June 21’s Huntington Beach Independent, and they’re all like “Blog it, dude.”But tarry a spot, this will require backstory.
The day after America's nursing movement announced its plans to use the tragedy and horror of SiCKO to spur people to action, the attacks are already beginning.
Fortunately, for you, me, and most people the attacks are best described as unintentionally hilarious. What moviemaker doesn't want crazy anti-patient Web sites pumping our press releases about their product?
Bring your red scrubs to SiCKO's opening night and help the nurses turn this movie masterpiece into a social movement—this pop culture into political change.
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee is acting as co-host of the opening night of SiCKO at 3,000 theaters around the country. We are working with an unprecedented national coalition of nurse and doctor and health care activist groups to ensure SiCKO has a long-term impact on our nation’s healthcare system and politics. It’s an incredible opportunity for patient advocates and it’s only missing one element: you. What are you doing the evening of Friday June 29th?
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee is going to be hosting premiers for SiCKO across the country next June. We're so excited that I've read every single review published. The consensus: book the Oscar suite, it's a masterpiece. More importantly, the reviewers are stressing the non-partisan nature of the film and saying it will appeal to R's and D's; are treating health corporations as the pariahs they should be; and are examining the possibilities for action, organizing and change that this film contains. The film is already changing our national debate about healthcare and re-aligning healthcare politics---and it doesn't open FOR A MONTH.
The lone dissenter? Rupert Murdoch's Times o' London.
(CNA joining the AFL-CIO over the SEIU or staying unaffiliated is a big deal. - promoted by juls)
Synergy = Momentum! Yesterday the 75,000 members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee joined the AFL-CIO. No big deal you think? Wrong. The 325,000 RNs now consolidated in the labor movement have become a corps of committed activists for guaranteed healthcare on the single-payer model. Don't underestimate them-especially as SiCKO continues to roil the national debate over healthcare.
I guess it's true there are lies, dang lies, and Wall St. Journal editorials. Now they're aiming at the healthcare debate-which might be good news if it means they're worried about progress. The Journal looks at the demise of Illinois' terrible healthcare plan and sees the death of universal healthcare and of healthcare guaranteed with single-payer financing. Both not true. We'll look at what they say and why-and point out a couple of much more honest assessments after the flip…
(Horray for people power! : ) - promoted by atdleft)
Over 1,000 nurses and patients marched on the California State Capitol today to demand guaranteed healthcare, at an event sponsored by the National Nurse Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association.
(In more important events in Sacramento... - promoted by Brian Leubitz)
Tomorrow is a historic day. Just as we read of another life ruined by insurance...see below...nurses and patients are mobilizing for what will be the largest rally in American history for guaranteed healthcare. A historic day--and you can read more about it below…
Being a Blue Cross patient sometimes sound like being a character in a horror movie. The latest: a four-year old boy in California is born with a hole in his heart…as soon as Blue Cross finds out they cancel the family's policy. Cruel. Read the whole story after the flip, along with an update on families forced into near-indentured servitude by medical bills, and good news in the fight for affordable prescription drugs and guaranteed healthcare.