Tue Jan 12, 2010
The supporters of SB 810, the most vetted and mature Single Payer legislation in America, marched and rallied at the Capitol in Sacramento yesterday.
The action in the front lines of the movement that WILL succeed in doing what DC politics could not do, pass legislation for the ONLY public option healthcare that pays for itself, were glorious.
Here is a YouTube with some highlights;
When Single Payer succeeds in California it will be adopted by other states, not unlike what happened province by province in Canada.
If you think Single Payer is ultimately the way to go, please Recommend this diary.
This is my initial report.
I joined the California Health Professionals Students Alliance at the Embassy Suites about a mile from the Capitol building.
These were University of California Irvine(UCI)students. Students from every medical school in California came in buses the night before. I was impressed by their enthusiastic support of SB 810 and their ability to explain the advantages of Single Payer and this pivotal legislation which will be re-introduced at the Senate floor next month.
We then marched about a mile toward the Capitol building.
What do we want? Single Payer
When do we want it? NOW
Hey, hey, ho, ho.
Healthcare greed has got to go.
Insurance companies rich and rude.
We don’t like your attitude
All America should beware
Insurance companies just don’t care
Decent healthcare is our right
We are here and we will fight!
Once there we joined up at the Capitol steps with healthcare activists from many organizations supporting SB 810 that make up the core of a well thought out and managed campaign called California One Care. Some of the organizations present included the California Nurses Association, California Physicians Alliance, Healthcare for All California, theCalifornia School Employees Association, the California Retired Teachers Association and many others.
It was a cold (OK by California standards) and cloudy day but spirits were high, everybody was passionate. Speaker after speaker gave hard hitting speeches. The whole event was incredibly well organized. This California healthcare movement is a well oiled grassroots machine.
SB 810 is now sponsored by Senator Mark Leno who was the first speaker. He said something that I think is the bottom line of the healthcare reform movement in California and everywhere. Something that when I said it in toe to toe discussions with teabaggers at townhall meetings and Christmas parties makes the foam at the mouth. Something that was echoed by the other speakers. Something that I think is the reason why I am involved in healthcare reform; healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege of those who can afford it.
Senator Mark Leno is very eloquent and IMO he will be effective in Sacramento starting next month when SB 810 comes to the floor.
After the action at the Capitol steps was over we went inside where smaller groups of activists, mostly the well prepared members of the California Health Professionals Students Alliance visited the offices of most of the Senators to discuss SB 810 with each one.
First they gathered in a large conference room to coordinate the visits and prepare for possible arguments;
I decided to tag along in a visit to Republican Senator Dave Cox with a group of students. Obviously the Senator opposes SB 810 so I was very intrigued by the whole concept of medical students arguing with a powerful Republican Senator.
We were received by Kevin Bassett, his Chief of Staff, who invited us into the Senator’s office to discuss the pros and cons of SB 810.
The CHPSA members defended the bill by using tragic personal anecdotes of patients they knew who had been denied healthcare by insurance companies. Mr. Bassett awkwardly and repeatedly used the argument that many young people do not have healthcare because they feel “immortal” not because they cannot afford it. This concept of “no healthcare by choice” was hammered each time by a different student who eloquently brought up another advantage of Single Payer accompanied by yet another personal anecdote.
After about 30 minutes the Senator did show up.
He started his own argument against SB 810 by saying that Single Payer is “crazy” because it cannot be afforded. He said that Medi-Cal was broke and so were the healthcare systems of all countries that had Single Payer.
Eventually the Senator gave his vision of what he said was the future of healthcare. But this will be in some of my next diaries.
Again, if you believe that Single Payer IS the way to go because it is the only self funding public option then support California One Care or at least Recommend this diary. I will then re-double my efforts to keep you all posted of the healthcare reform movement in California, our last best hope for real healthcare reform.
Yesterday marked the beginning of the end of greedy health insurance companies in America, starting in California.