The following is a press release issued by the California Nurses Association:
On Saturday, January 8th, nurses with the California Nurses Association organized a day of action to demand that the state adopt the California Guaranteed Healthcare for All Act (AB 1400). The day of action involved car caravans in 15 cities across the state.
Local organizers Robin Sunbeam, RN, and Karen Lee, with the help of the Inland Mendocino Democratic Club and CNA, decorated about 20 cars with placards and flags. The CalCare Car Caravan circled downtown Ukiah to educate the public and thank Assembly Member Jim Wood for his support of AB1400 announced last Thursday.
With 3.2 million people in California lacking health insurance and nearly 12 million unable to afford to use
their insurance because of costly co-pays or deductibles, the only way to guarantee care for all is via a single payer system. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown fractures in our for-profit health care system.
As nurses, we’ve seen patients get care delayed or denied because they could not afford it,” said Cathy Kennedy, RN and president of the California Nurses Association. “This for-profit health care system has cost lives, all so that a few health insurance executives can line their pockets. This newest Covid-19 surge further shows how broken our current system is. California has an opportunity to make history and finally say that health care is a human right. It’s time we pass AB 1400, the California Guaranteed Healthcare for All Act.”
CalCare would create a single-payer health care system in California, akin to a state-level version of Medicare for All. The program would be financed through a single, public program rather than the fragmented patchwork system California has now. This system would have huge cost savings through reduced bureaucracy.
Within the hospital system, nurses have been pushed to the brink, having to reuse PPE and take on more patients to maximize profit during a global health crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the moral bankruptcy and lack of preparedness of the for-profit health care system, causing major suffering for both health care workers and patients alike and highlighting the critical need for a single-payer health care system.
The day of action comes ahead of a critical hearing in the Assembly Health Committee on AB 1400 on Tuesday, January 11th. If the bill passes the Assembly Health Committee, it will head to the Appropriations Committee where it needs to be heard before January 21st, before going to the Assembly floor for a vote. A recent poll showed that CalCare has the support of over 65 percent of Californians.