The fight for guaranteed healthcare made an important advance yesterday as the California legislature prepared to send Governor Schwarzenegger a “Medicare for All” or “SinglePayer healthcare” bill. He vetoed it last year—but will he have the guts to do so again?? Meanwhile a new study finds Canada’s healthcare better than the U.S.’s an only 42 percent the cost, the drug lobby keeps ripping us off, and the insurance industry wants to attack Hillary Clinton no matter what health plan she supports.
State Sen. Sheila Kuehl is a healthcare activist and the only person in the country who has passed a guaranteed healthcare bill through a state legislature. Her bill, SB 840, the California Universal Healthcare Act uses single-payer financing, and has been projected to save the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year while covering every single person in the state.
While Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill last year, everything has changed this year, from the national healthcare debate to his desire to challenge Barbara Boxer for her Senate seat in 2010. Wouldn’t it be weird if he ran as the person signed Guaranteed Healthcare into law? Of course his plan right now is forced insurance—force people to sign up with private insurers, and fine them if they don’t. Terrible.
The good news is Schwarzenegger can’t even find a sponsor for his bill—while Kuehl just passed her bill through the Health Committee and sent it to the Senate floor for a vote!
There’s an excellent chance it will pass through both houses and give Schwarzenegger a very difficult choice. Leading up to that, the bill does face a clear threat from a few Democratic politicians who want to compromise principles for expediency—fixing a gushing wound with a band-aid, then calling a press conference to brag about it. In the words of Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the CA Nurses: “Whose life doesn’t count?"
Those politicians should read the new study that came out yesterday, finding that Canada’s healthcare system is superior to America’s at only 42 percent of the cost. That means we’re wasting about 1.2 trillion care dollars annually on nothing! And, if Canada really has a 5 percent lower death rate in hospitals, our messed-up healthcare system is killing tens of thousands of people a year unnecessarily. Many people talk about the private insurance racket as "Murder by Spreadsheet"—isn’t this “Genocide by Spreadsheet?”
Meanwhile, the for-profit healthcare corporations continue to roll in the bucks, as drug companies just got their Senate friends to prohibit Medicare from negotiating drug discounts. More care dollars wasted.
And, finally, the insurance industry is already sharpening its claws against Candidate Clinton. I hope she realizes they’ll come after her no matter what she does, and support a plan to get rid of their waste and abuse…like SB 840 or John Conyers’ federal bill HR 676.