More from last Wednesday’s Senate Health Committee vote
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. Michael Rubio – who had said last week that he was going to vote no on the bill – curiously, abstained. Was the insurance industry breathing down his neck? Rubio’s office had said the senator believes the federal Affordable Care Act is good enough to help Californians. But this “reform” was a huge giveaway to the insurance companies and keeps them and the whole for-profit system intact. The insurers know SB 810 would spell their doom. Only Sen. Rubio knows why he didn’t show up for that vote, but abstaining is just as bad as voting against. His constituents should give him an earful.
Despite overwhelming demand from the citizens of California for single payer, it’s frustrating to see so many of our legislators have to be dragged by their hair toward doing the right thing. Never mind that the United States is hopelessly out of step with the rest of the western world when it comes to healthcare delivery. And the ACA isn’t going change that. Only a comprehensive, not-for-profit universal healthcare system can. SB 810’s near death last week shows we have to be ever vigilant against the dark forces of the health insurance industry and their minions in the California Chamber of Commerce hell bent on digging their claws into many a politician.