Healthy California Campaign Steps Up Call for Single-Payer Reform

by on October 18, 2011 · 0 comments

in California, Health, San Diego

Welcomes “Healthcare is a Human Right” Leader from Vermont

Inspired by moves toward guaranteed healthcare for all in Vermont and Montana, advocates of Medicare-for-all, single-payer-style reform in California have formed a new coalition, the Campaign for a Healthy California (CHC), and are stepping up activity this coming week by hosting a California tour with a Vermont healthcare activist.

CHC will host James Haslam of the Vermont Workers’ Center in a series of events, beginning Tuesday, October 18 in Los Angeles, to talk about the Vermont experience and describe efforts to reignite the movement for guaranteed healthcare in California as well.

Other campaign events are scheduled Oct. 19 in Irvine, Oct. 20 in San Diego, Oct. 21 in San Jose, Oct. 22 in San Francisco and Watsonville, Oct. 23 in Sacramento and Fresno, and Oct. 24 in Chico.

“With millions of Californians still uninsured, and millions more struggling with medical bills while also enduring the effects of the economic crisis, the need for guaranteed healthcare for all in California is greater than ever,” says Zenei Cortez, RN, co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, a founding member of CHC.

In May, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill, following a campaign by the Workers’ Center and other organizations, which would make Vermont the first U.S. state to achieve a single-payer-type system. Full implementation of the system requires a federal waiver from Congress to authorize individual states to go beyond the national law enacted last year.

A state waiver is permitted under the law, but not until 2017, Vermont, and now Montana, whose governor also seeks to enact a state single-payer system, are seeking to move up the waiver date to 2014, a position endorsed by President Obama.

CNA is also pressing for a statewide waiver by 2014, as well as continuing efforts to pass SB 810, a California single-payer bill, which has twice passed the state Legislature but was vetoed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. SB 810 will be before the Legislature again next year.

“Nurses every day see disturbing declines in health endured by patients and families who have lost jobs or homes, many of whom are delaying needed medical care which increases their pain and suffering and long-term health and economic costs,” says Cortez.

Other CHC members include the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Communication Workers of America (CWA), California Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Health Professional Student Alliance, Health Care for All, One Care, Single Payer Now, Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America, and the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party.

Tour events will also feature local RN and community leaders and National Nurses United (NNU) community organizer Donna Smith, one of the real life stars of Michael Moore’s SiCKO. Smith has spoken in 43 states and internationally on the need for a progressively financed, single standard of high-quality care for all.

Campaign for a Healthy California tour:

  • Los Angeles: Tuesday, October 18, 7 p.m., ILWU Local 26 Union Hall, 5625 South Figueroa Street.
  • Irvine: Wednesday, October 19, 7 p.m., Irvine United Congregational Church, 4915 Alton Parkway.
  • San Diego: Thursday, October 20, 6:30 p.m., San Diego Machinist Local 725 Union Hall, 5150 Kearny Mesa Road.
  • San Jose: Friday, October 21, 7 p.m., South Bay CLC, Hall A, 2102 Almaden Rd.
  • San Francisco: Saturday, October 22, 10 a.m., St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1111 Gough Street.
  • Watsonville:  Saturday, October 22, 3 p.m., Watsonville Civic Plaza, 275 Main Street.
  • Sacramento: Sunday, October 23, 1 p.m., CWA Local 9421 Union Hall, 2725 El Camino Avenue.
  • Fresno: Sunday, October 23, 7 p.m., CWA Local 9408 Union Hall, 4422 E. Aslan Ave.
  • Chico: Monday, October 24, 6:30 p.m., Chico Trinity United Methodist Church, 285 E. 5th Street.

The tour is also a fundraiser for the Vermont Workers’ Center (donations can be made at and for the Campaign For A Healthy California.

Contact: Liz Jacobs, RN (510) 273-2232, Pilar Schiavo (510) 385-4213, or Charles Idelson (510) 273-2246

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