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Healthy California for All Commission 2020 Schedule – Now on Hiatus

The Healthy California for All Commission was fully appointed and established by Governor Gavin Newsom and the California State Legislature in December 2019. According to its charter:

“The purpose of the Healthy California for All Commission is to provide the Governor and the Legislature with options and recommendations to advance progress toward achieving a health care delivery system in California that provides coverage and access through a unified financing system, including, but not limited to, a single-payer financing system, for all Californians.”

We in the Healthy California Now coalition believe that by holding the Commission accountable, through pressure and collaboration, we have our best chance at single-payer: a comprehensive, universal, high-quality standardized system of care for everyone, from birth to death, free at the point of service — with no fees, co-pays, deductibles, or other “out of pocket” expenses. The remaining Democratic and Republican presidential candidates will not embrace Medicare for All / single-payer, so it is up to massive working-class movements to pressure state leadership.

UPDATE: We are disappointed to report that a week before their scheduled September meeting, the Commission announced they were going on hiatus through the rest of 2020. We’ve struck the rest of the dates on this page. Please read their statement below:

This year has brought enormous challenges on both public health and economic fronts for the nation and for California – both for its government and its people. Wildfires that are occurring on an unprecedented scale have added additional complexity.

Responding to the immediate and increasingly complex health and human services needs of Californians necessarily is the immediate priority and focus of the Agency and of our partners, particularly our health care providers.

Achieving universal health care remains a critical priority for the Administration. The role of unified financing and strategies to improve outcomes and control costs is foundational to our work and requires serious consideration and attention. Given the importance of this issue and the impact of the confluence of crises we are facing together, we have made the difficult decision to suspend the activities of the Healthy California for All Commission for the remainder of 2020. We will plan to reconvene by no later than February to re-engage in the work of the Commission. By that time we should know more about California’s economy, a critical element to any State proposal for health reform, as well as know more about the national landscape.

During this hiatus, we encourage interested Californians to review the Commission’s recently completed report, An Environmental Analysis of Health Care Delivery, Coverage, and Financing in California. The report provides an assessment of health care in California today and describes opportunities to improve the health and health care of Californians through a statewide unified financing system.

Through our organizing and mobilization, we’ve won some important victories and had our demands recognized — now we’re calling upon you to please help the movement continue by attending the Commission’s remaining virtual 2020 meetings with us on the following dates:

  • Thursday, August 13 from 9am – 1pm
  • Thursday, September 24
  • Thursday, October 22
  • Thursday, November 12
  • Thursday, December 10

To stay in touch, please join our collective fight for health care justice by joining us as an organization or an individual. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Among other issues, we’ll be strategizing about the Commission’s posted timing and topics for them to make decisions on:

  • August — Financing
  • September — Provider Payment
  • October — Role, if any, for Intermediary Organizations
  • November — Eligibility, Covered Benefits, and Patient Cost Sharing
  • December — Governance and Cost Containment

At the Commission’s inaugural meeting in Sacramento in January 2020, our coalition Healthy California Now brought a busload of affiliated organizers from the Bay Area to observe and comment. The Commission was not scheduled to meet again until April, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic that broke out soon after, it was the only in-person public meeting to date. With Governor Newsom’s leadership of the statewide shelter-in-place order in March, the Commission went on indefinite hiatus.

Meanwhile, evidence that we needed single-payer, universal health care grew exponentially as COVID-19 led to death, exacerbated racial disparities in health, and created a socioeconomic crisis with widespread unemployment — which further affected the health crisis. Health care coverage or “access” must not be tied to one’s job nor to private, for-profit insurance.

As the pandemic worsened, Healthy California Now’s organizers and coalition affiliates continued to meet virtually. In recognizing the dire circumstances that Californians and the rest of the U.S. faced, we launched a successful campaign to pressure Governor Newsom to reconvene the Commission virtually. At the June 12th meeting, we helped mobilize over 300 members of the public to attend, who overwhelmingly demanded single-payer, and for proper representation on advisory groups, both of which were then reflected in their July 8th presentation.

A critical element of this fight is that there are several allies and outspoken proponents of single-payer on the Commission — among our recommendations for appointees leading to the Governor’s announcement — who we support and encourage as they convince their colleagues to do the right thing. They joined our outcry and supported our demands.

We have the power to bring high-quality care and a measure of safety, economic security, and health justice to all Californians. Only with your help will we succeed. Join us today.

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