The following is a press release submitted by the Daybreak Political Action Committee:
More than 3 million Californians are without health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic, revitalizing the movement for a statewide single payer (Healthcare for All) system. In 2017, the State Senate passed AB 1400’s predecessor, SB 562, but the bill was abruptly shelved by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who insisted at the time that funding would require approval from the Trump administration. With a governor who campaigned on the promise of supporting single payer now sitting in Sacramento, and now with California-grown Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra–who has previously voiced support for Medicare for All–serving the Biden administration in DC, the time to guarantee healthcare as a human right for all Californians is ripe.
The California Nurses Association (CNA) joined Assemblymember Ash Kalra on February 19, 2021 to introduce the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare), Assembly Bill 1400, which would guarantee comprehensive, high-quality health care to all California residents as a human right. According to CNA, “the establishment of the CalCare program is an improved Medicare for All-type health care system.” A 2017 poll by Public Policy Institute of California found that 65% of adults surveyed support the creation of a single-payer state healthcare program to cover all of the state’s residents.
Assemblymember Jim Wood represents Humboldt, Eureka, Mendocino, Del Norte, Trinity, and Sonoma counties (Assembly District 2) and chairs the Assembly Health Committee. Kaiser Health News reported in February that Wood “cast doubt on the feasibility of single-payer late last year, saying the state should instead build on the Affordable Care Act. Supporters fear his potential opposition could block the bill.” According to a Daybreak PAC analysis of publicly-available campaign contributions, Wood has received at least $85,000 from private insurance companies and other groups opposing single payer health care, including Blue Shield of California, the California Association of Health Plans, Anthem Blue Cross, Health Net, and Association of California Life and Health Insurance Companies.
Daybreak PAC, a new all-women-run grassroots, corporate-free political action committee, has been conducting outreach to Wood’s constituents and encouraging them to email their assemblymember in support of CalCare. They are also looking to recruit a corporate-free candidate to challenge him in 2022, should he fail to support AB 1400 this year.