Wow! Our movement to make California the first Medicare For All state in the nation got loud this week! Monday’s Virtual Town Hall had so many participants it broke our zoom account. For those who missed it or couldn’t join the first few minutes, you can watch the whole Virtual Town Hall on our YouTube channel.
Labor legend Dolores Huerta was on fire, and sent a strong message to the Governor saying, “He’s going to depend on our votes, and money cannot save him… We have to remind him that he needs our votes and we need his authority to pass single payer — make it very clear to the Governor that this is what we’re expecting him to do.”
Then Tuesday at the Capitol we got loud for single payer in person and in our rowdy car caravan with hundreds of hospitality workers, healthcare workers and doctors, seniors and healthcare justice activists. You can watch videos of the rally on our Facebook page!
Powerful speakers sent a clear message — we know this fight is urgent, as expressed by Anand Singh of UNITE-HERE Local 2 who said, “when COVID hit, and hospitality workers lost their jobs and their insurance – half of our union’s members had to fall back on Covered California plans that cost a fortune when you get sick. Fully a quarter couldn’t get any kind of coverage at all.” In the middle of a deadly global pandemic. We heard of healthcare workers who put their lives on the line.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced his support for Healthy California Now’s efforts to achieve a single-payer healthcare system in California. In a letter read during the rally by NUHW President Sal Rosselli, Rendon stated:
“I believe health care is a human right, and it’s imperative that we take the steps necessary to provide all Californians with universal access to quality health care. I strongly support Healthy California Now’s efforts to pass and enact single-payer healthcare in California. Seeking federal approval to use existing health care dollars as the foundation for a state-sponsored plan will be a crucial step toward successfully providing universal health care through a single-payer health system. I applaud Healthy California Now for their relentless and determined efforts to make this happen. And I am pleased to continue working with them to achieve this goal.”
Angela Chavez of Courage California exposed that, “many in our black and brown communities were already disadvantaged… We can’t afford to bury any more of our friends and family members. I can’t afford to donate to any more GoFundMe’s. We need access to healthcare.” Dr. Paul Song made our position clear to rally participants: “We are tired of excuses. The time is now for our Governor to lead.”
Our new HCN organizer, Pilar Schiavo, talked about the successful systems of single payer we have right here, the VA that saved her family from medical bankruptcy when her dad fought cancer — twice. Schiavo also pointed to the recent survey showing that Democrats will turn-out to back Newsom in the recall if he stands with us on Medicare for All!
And it is clear that these actions, the phone calls and 19,000 signatures of our petitions are getting through: at the end of the rally we heard from the Governor’s office that he has sent a letter to the Biden administration, a victory and vital step that would not have happened without pressure from you and this campaign over the last few months.
Tam Ma, the Governor’s deputy legislative secretary, addressed participants during the rally, to inform them that Gov. Newsom has written to the Biden Administration regarding waivers and in support of legislation that would remove some potential hurdles for any state to transition to Medicare for All. “California has the structures and the will to supply health care for all,” she said during the rally. “We just need federal support and waivers allowing us to move to universal health care.”
This is a victory and vital step that would not have happened without pressure from you and this campaign over the last few months. And now, it’s our job to push for immediate action and engagement by the Governor under the existing authority provided by the ACA state innovation waivers needed to achieve Medicare for All in California.
This is not good enough. It’s our job to push for immediate action and engagement by the Governor under the existing authority provided by the ACA state innovation waivers needed to achieve Medicare for All in California.
We know our work is far from done. We need to keep getting loud, keep organizing and keep building the movement to guarantee healthcare for ALL in the golden state! Be sure to tune in for a conversation on healthcare policy hosted by Dr. Ron Birnbaum of PNHP and Jeena Harris of HCA-LA with Michael Lighty, President of HCN. Join the Zoom on Sunday, June 20 at 5:00pm Pacific.
Please keep up with the campaign on social media. And keep those calls to the Governor coming: leadership means engaging now with the Biden Administration and not waiting for a divided Congress to act. Use our script to call the Governor at 916-445-2841.
The Governor may be relying on the recommendations from the Healthy California for All Commission for how to move forward toward single payer. The policy case is strongly on our side; we need to ensure the Commission recommends action now to secure the federal support necessary and pass the necessary legislation in California. RSVP now for their June 25 meeting.
Onward to health justice!
Healthy California Now
Event Photos: Ron Lee