Good news on the Health Care For All Front! On Thursday, January 19, 2012, the California Senate Appropriations Committee approved the California Universal Health Care Act.
Senate Bill 810 guarantees all Californians comprehensive, universal health care while reducing the state’s ballooning health care costs and improving the quality of care and delivery of health services statewide.
Here's audio of an interview with Mark Leno, about his bill. Mark Leno is a true hero!
In the interview Mark Leno explains that health care premiums are going up five times faster than inflation, and the number of employers providing benefits has been going down. 12 million Californians went without health care coverage last year.
Notice from the press release from PNHP (linked above) the number of co-sponsors and supporters of the bill representing over 2 million people!
SB 810 is sponsored and supported by a broad coalition of patients, nurses, doctors, teachers and school employees, small businesses, faith community members, retirees, local governments and school districts. These groups represent more than 2 million Californians. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Nurses Association, Health Care for All California, California One Care, California School Employees Association, Physicians for a National Health Program-California, Single Payer Now, Campaign for a Healthy California, California Federation of Teachers, California Alliance of Retired Americans, Amnesty International, League of Women Voters, California Council of Churches, Progressive Democrats of America, California Consumer Federation, National Organization for Women-California, Vision y Compromiso, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, Dolores Huerta Foundation, California Health Professional Student Alliance and Courage Campaign.
For folks that don't remember, the California State Legislature put the bill on Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk, but "Governor Cheatinator" vetoed it twice. Had he not vetoed that bill, the first time, thousands of Californians who needlessly died due to inadequate health care would be alive today. Usually people don't put it in those terms, because they're afraid to point out the direct connection between the veto pen and the resulting tombstones.
One additional point is that various studies have predicted actual savings from this very bill, see for example the Lewin Group study which projected that "Aggregate savings to state and local governments from 2006 to 2015 would be about $43.8 billion". In addition, "Families with incomes under $150,000 in annual income would, on average, see savings ranging from $600 to $3600 per family under the program in 2006".
Our "system" doesn't work. This system would work much better. Pretty simple, really. If not for the ability of big money to spread propaganda and buy politicians.
The California Chamber of Commerce has already fired up the propaganda-regurgitating machinery to oppose this bill (or any other bill that would make for a healthier California).
In other countries it doesn't work that way -- business leaders are less committed to broken ideology.
Big Three Auto Joint Letter on Publicly Funded Health Care (in Canada)
The public health care system significantly reduces total labour costs for automobile manufacturing firms, compared to the cost of equivalent private insurance services purchased by U.S.-based automakers; these health insurance savings can amount to several dollars per hour of labour worked. Publicly funded health care thus accounts for a significant portion of Canada's overall labour cost advantage in auto assembly, versus the U.S., which in turn has been a significant factor in maintaining and attracting new auto investment to Canada.
We need smarter business leaders in this country! (again I am reminded of Jared Diamond's point that Civilizations Collapse when leaders are out of touch with the people, out of touch with the facts, and focus on their short term gain)