March 4, 2019
SACRAMENTO — Less than one week after the introduction of a federal Medicare For All bill in the House of Representatives, a statewide, non-partisan coalition comprised of community, consumer, labor, health, disability, LGBTQ, business, and political organizations launched the renewed and reinvigorated Healthy California Now.
The campaign is founded on the principles that health care is a human right, and that publicly and equitably financed access to quality care for all residents of California is critical to our state’s social and economic well-being. It is dedicated to establishing a single-payer Medicare For All system in California as a model for an equitable U.S. health care system with no barriers to care.
“Every day, Californians must deal with an expensive, inefficient, health care system that doesn’t work,” said Healthy California Now Vice Chair Sal Rosselli, who is also president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers. “We’re tired of increasing costs, limited provider choices, escalating drug prices, surprise bills, and health plans that cost more and cover less. We want the peace of mind provided by guaranteed physical and mental health care we can count on wherever and whenever we need it — and we are going to win.”
California is poised to set the pace for the national Medicare for All movement. Last year, the state legislature authorized and funded the five-member Council on Health Care Delivery Systems. The council, which is awaiting appointments from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the State Senate, is charged with studying what must be done legally, financially, and administratively to build a single payer system — and to make recommendations to the legislature. Healthy California Now has already recommended appointments to the council and stands ready to support its work.
“Our goal is to create a ‘shovel-ready’ single-payer health care system that can be submitted to the federal government for approval,” said Healthy California Now Chair Cindy Young. “It’s time to liberate California from the stranglehold of the health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, and to deliver guaranteed health care to all of our residents.”
Dan Geiger, Healthy California Now Treasurer, and Co-Director of the Business Alliance for a Healthy California, added:
“California has never been better positioned to achieve a single-payer health care system that provides access for all state residents while saving Californian businesses and residents money. The Healthy California Now will be challenging elected officials to take a stand, to overcome the money and power of the insurance industry and the drug companies, and to deliver on the imperative of providing health care to all Californians as a right.”
Healthy California Now also supports the federal Medicare for All Act of 2019, introduced last week by Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington. It is already working to line up support among all 53 California members of congress to add their names to the legislation and educate their constituents about it.
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Healthy California Now is a member-led campaign dedicated to establishing a single-payer system in California as a model for a just and equitable U.S. health care system.