Diverse Coalition Criticizes Hearings as Woefully Incomplete, Promoting Counterfeit “alternatives” to SB 562 and Guaranteed Healthcare for all California Residents

The California Nurses Association and the campaign for the Healthy California Act, a coalition comprised of 350 organizations representing over six million Californians, will hold rallies on Oct. 23 and 24 at the state Capitol in support of SB 562, legislation that would guarantee health coverage to all Californians and eliminate premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket health costs.

The rallies are scheduled to precede the first round of Assembly Select Committee Hearings on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage that will be held that afternoon in the State Capitol. Single payer supporters will travel from around the state to attend the rallies and deliver petitions to the Select Committee signed by 10,000 supporters of SB 562 gathered in just two days, Oct. 14-15, as part of a weekend of grassroots actions conducted by hundreds of volunteers in all 80 state Assembly districts.

“The Select Committee hearings, if utilized correctly, could be an opportunity for

our elected representatives to show leadership by moving SB 562 forward,” said Bonnie Castillo, Associate Executive Director, California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. “There are many residents of California who currently can’t get the healthcare they desperately need and deserve and millions more may lose what protection they have due to GOP efforts in Washington D.C. to slash health programs.”

Sacramento – Monday, Oct. 23 and Tuesday, Oct. 24 – 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

What: Rallies to Support SB 562, The Healthy California Act
Where: North Steps of State Capitol, Sacramento, Calif.

Assembly Select Committee Hearings on Health Care follow at 1 p.m. Tuesday and 2 p.m. Weds. State Capitol Room 4202

Sign up for busses here: https://fs27.formsite.com/CalNurses/form1/index.html

The California Senate passed SB 562 on June 1 and was then blocked from moving forward in the Assembly by Speaker Anthony Rendon. After a great deal of pressure from bill supporters to allow the bill out of the Rules Committee, he instead created the “Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage,” whose published agenda indicates no plan even to discuss SB 562/guaranteed healthcare for all. The Select Committee has thus far inexplicably excluded the participation of SB 562’s primary sponsors, the California Nurses Association, which represents 100,000 acute care registered nurses in California.

Supporters of SB 562 note that the bill’s delay in the Assembly may partially be explained by the fact that Assembly Democrats have received more than $2.7 million in pharmaceutical and health insurance industries contributions. The Select Committee Co-Chairs, Jim Wood and Joaquin Arambula are the 1st and 3rd highest recipients respectively of cash contributions from the health and insurance sectors combined as compared to all 80 Assembly Members of the California Legislature.

The Select Committee has no legislative authority and is reviewing questions that have already been adequately studied by the legislature, say single payer advocates. The California legislature already authorized a comprehensive study of various models of health care financing – The California Health Care Options Project by the Lewin Group. According to the study, single payer is vastly superior to other models.

“We do not need more study of deficient models, such as ACA expansion or hybrid systems that fall short on universality, equity, access, and affordability,” said Castillo. “The residents of California understand that the Democrats ‘own the fix’ here in this state. It’s not enough to ‘resist’ or blame the President. You have the ability if you so choose, to fix the system in a meaningful way and guarantee healthcare for all by allowing SB 562 to move forward.”