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Read California Healthline’s roundup of last Wednesday’s successful vote on SB 810:
Friday, May 06, 2011
Senate Health Committee Moves Single-Payer Bill
by David Gorn
Many dozens of single-payer supporters crammed the Senate Committee on Health chambers on Wednesday for hearing on a bill that would set up a single-payer health system in California.
The supporters were respectful and emphatic as they all stepped, one by one, up to the microphone to voice their support for such a model. After all of the advocates took their turn and returned to their seats, Senate Health Committee Chair Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) wanted to know if there were any more speakers, so he politely asked if there was anyone else in the audience who was in favor of the bill.
And a sea of hands went up, as nearly everyone in the audience spontaneously and quietly raised their hands.
That has been the history of single-payer legislation in California, with enthusiastic, almost fervid, support of it by many citizens and organizations in the state, but a tepid, almost embarrassed, reception by many lawmakers.
Here’s how Wednesday’s vote on SB 810 broke down:
YES – Ed Hernandez, Elaine Alquist, Kevin de Leon, Mark DeSaulnier, Lois Wolk
NO – Joel Anderson, Sam Blakeslee, Tony Strickland
Sen. Read more…
Facing possible extinction for the first time in four years, the single payer bill SB 810 pulled through, passing the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday on a 5-3 vote, state Sen. Mark Leno’s office reported. Up until a couple of days ago, committee chair Sen. Ed Hernandez had been undecided, putting the bill in jeopardy. But intense pressure from single payer advocates across the state and a massive phone campaign finally secured a “yes” vote from Hernandez. In addition, hundreds of single payer supporters descended upon the Capitol in Sacramento to attend the hearing.
Leno’s office released the following statement after the vote:
“California is being overrun by out-of-control health care costs, which has a significant impact on the state budget, businesses and families,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Our single payer plan not only guarantees universal coverage for all Californians, but also contains health care costs, which is essential to solving our state budget crisis in the long term.”
SB 810 creates a private-public partnership to provide every California resident medical, dental, vision, hospitalization and prescription drug benefits and allows patients to choose their own doctors and hospitals. This single payer, “Medicare for All” type of program works by pooling together the money that government, employers and individuals already spend on health care and putting it to better use by cutting out the for-profit middle man.
It looks like California and Vermont could go on two different trajectories in America’s battle for healthcare equality. On Tuesday, the Vermont Senate approved by 21-9 health reform legislation that would create a single payer system in the state. Once the bill is reconciled by both chambers of the Vermont legislature, it will land on Gov. Peter Shumlin’s desk. Shumlin is a strong supporter of single payer.
Meanwhile, in our state of California, SB 810 could be in jeopardy. Wednesday’s scheduled hearing in the state Senate Health Committee was postponed to May 4. According to single payer advocacy group, Single Payer Central, two Democratic members on the committee – chairman Ed Hernandez and member Michael Rubio – are apparently wavering on the bill:
“The Senate Health Committee was scheduled to discuss SB 810 on Wednesday, April 27 at 1:30pm. The Health Committee meeting has now been postponed to Wednesday, May 4th at 1:30pm.
The vote on SB 810 is in jeopardy of not passing because of two members of the Health Committee, Democratic State Senators Michael Rubio from Bakersfield, who is not in support, and the Chair of the Health Committee, Ed Hernandez, who is not sure what he thinks. Read more…
Here’s what Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has to say about single payer, in an interview published in The Times of India:
Why have you been pitching for a single payer system for health insurance rather than a system where several private companies compete?The US model of private health insurers has been proven inefficient and expensive. Insurance companies have a very strong incentive to do cream skimming. They make more money figuring out the high cost and low cost people. Rather than provide better healthcare at lower costs, insurance companies innovate at finding better ways of discrimination. They are inefficient because they are trying to figure out how to insure people who don’t need the cover and keep out people who need it. With many companies, they also need to spend on marketing and advertising. The incentives are all wrong and the transaction costs are very high and you have to give them a high profit. In health, social and private incentives are totally disparate. Competition does not work in healthcare especially in the health insurance market. Several countries like the UK, France and Sweden have a single payer system, differing only in the organisation of healthcare delivery. People in these countries have done much better than the US.
If they ever hand out a prize for Hypocritical Freshman Congressperson of the Year, Andy Harris would win first place. In an amazing display of audacity, Harris, a Republican elected Nov. 2 to a Maryland congressional seat on an anti-healthcare reform platform, complained during an orientation meeting about having to wait 28 days before receiving the government-subsidized healthcare plan available to all federal employees. What’s even more incredible, is that Harris is an anesthesiologist. So one would think he would have some empathy for the millions of people who go without insurance much longer than a mere month.After the Politico story came out, Harris received a much deserved public trashing. He immediately tried to clarify his remarks, claiming he wasn’t talking about himself, but about federal employees in general. Nevertheless, Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York was so incensed by Harris’ cluelessness, and anti-health reform legislators in general, that he is demanding that lawmakers who want to repeal reform should drop their own taxpayer-funded coverage. (So far, two lawmakers have taken Crowley up on his challenge)When the fight over healthcare reform took center stage in Congress last year, I kept wondering when someone would point out how ironic it is that millions of working-class taxpayers who don’t get health insurance on the job are subsidizing the health care of lawmakers who would deny health coverage to those same taxpayers. Read more…
The United States just reached a new milestone in the Hall of Shame: nearly 59 million Americans were uninsured for at least part of 2010, according to officials at the Centers for Disease Control. That’s more uninsured Americans than the entire populations of some industrialized countries that provide health care to all of their citizens. From a Reuters article:
They said 4 million more Americans went without insurance in the first part of 2010 than during the same time in 2008.“Both adults and kids lost private coverage over the past decade,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news briefing.The findings have implications for U.S. healthcare reform efforts. A bill passed in March promises to get health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans who currently lack coverage.But Republicans who just took control of the House of Representatives last week have vowed to derail the new law by cutting off the funds for it, and some want to repeal it. Experts from both sides predict gridlock in Congress for the next two years in implementing healthcare reform’s provisions.
Its back to school! We have no idea why we started with that because it has nothing to do with he show coming up but it does fit in with the season. Hey…we do have a great show coming up.
This week we host Andrew McGuire. Andrew is the creator of the California One Care Campaign. The campaign is simple, single payer health care for all Californians. This discussion takes us back to the good old days when many of us thought nationwide single payer health care was a possibility. You won’t want to miss this discussion.Dan and Casey try to figure out if they want to join the TEA PARTY or simply have one. It might have to be the latter because there’s enough confusion to go around. Dan thinks its an all girls club and Casey thinks they’re “too radical!” Now that’s a twist…RN Deborah Burger, one of the three National Nurses United co-presidents joins us. She will enlighten us about all kinds of issues that affect all of us…not just the nurses and health care workers. On that note, what ever happened to “health care reform?”Casey tells Dan to unpack his luggage. He thought he was actually going to Boston next week…rather than just broadcasting there. Read more…
Casey and Dan speak with Andrew McGuire the Executive Director of California One Care. Andrew talks about the founding coalition and the campaign that is under way to pass SB 810, State Senator Mark Leno’s legislation for Single Payer Health Insurance for ALL Californians….plus our RN Hero feature, Tim Thomas, RN plus, Casey and Dan’s usual shenanigans.READ MORE…
Michael Lighty, the Director of Public Policy for the California Nurses Association, joins Casey to speak about healthcare reform and advocating for single-payer bills state-by-state. If you think real healthcare reform is important, you won’t want to miss his strategy. Click here to listen to the segment by going to the Nurse Talk CNA On Demand page. Read more…
COMING UP…Nurse Casey and Company welcome Marsha Podd, AKA, The Baby Whisperer, and retired RN activist Barbara Williams. Both have a lot to say about two very different topics.Barbara will talk about the importance of being and staying active in the fight for patients rights and the rights of RN’s and other health-care workers. She may be retired from her job—but she is still very actively advocating for a “single payer” insurance option for all. Yet another RN who has been on the front lines and knows how broken the current system is. HOWEVER…that does not keep her from being optimistic about true health care reform.
AND THEN…Baby…Baby…Baby! Marsha Podd, RN, AKA, The Baby Whisperer is back! Marsha and Casey take questions from listeners about babies, toddlers and new mothers.AND, WE have a surprise guest—Carmela Carlyle from Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga is gaining momentum as a legitimate therapy that helps relieve stress and ease pain. Carmela also gives CEU’s (continuing education units) for RN’s who take her classes. Check it our at www.nursetalksite.com.
AND REMEMBER…”laughter is the best medicine.”Don’t FORGET YOU CAN LISTEN TO NURSE TALK ON GREEN 960AM OR LIVE STREAM AT WWW.GREEN960.COM. EVERY SUNDAY AT 2PM. Oh…..and WWW.ENERGYTALKRADIO.COM—EVERY DAY AT 4PM. Read more…