Contributed by Inda S. Shirley, Health Care for All
California Single Payer Medicare for All legislation
Assembly Bill 1400, the statewide single-payer legislation known as the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (CalCare) was introduced in February 2021. The bill was authored by Assembly Members Ash Kalra (Dem, San Jose), Alex Lee (Dem, San Jose), and Miguel Santiago (Dem, Los Angeles). AB 1400 would set in motion single payer health care coverage in California for all California residents. Note ‘for all California residents.’ Citizenship status would not impact receiving care.
In April 2021, AB 1400 was placed on hold. Kalra had decided to work on financing the bill before going forward. This year, 2021, is the first of the two-year legislative session, which means that AB 1400 can be brought back later. Kalra’s April statement included the following:
The bill will be brought forward later in this legislative session when I will expect it to get a fair hearing and ultimately be approved, bringing us one big step closer to single-payer health care in California.
Healthy California for All Commission
Established by Governor Newsom, the goal is to work “to develop a plan for advancing progress toward achieving a health care delivery system for California that provides coverage and access through a unified financing system, including, but not limited to a single payer financing system.”
SPM4A action in 2021
- Continuing outreach, advocacy, and presentations.
- Connecting and linking with other SPM4A groups.
- Working with other social justice organizations to develop coalitions.
- Meeting with elected officials to advocate for HR 3775 and SPM4A (HR 1976 and CA-AB1400).
- Physicians for a National Health Program and Healthy California Now are reaching out, through friendly persuasion, through offers to provide resource materials, and through requests to review materials, to Governor Newsom’s Healthy California for All Commission.
The City of Richmond passed a resolution supporting AB 1400
Ellen Karel, Chair of Health Care for All – California, writes the following:
- HCA is engaged in motivating Gov. Newsom to connect now with the Biden administration to work out requirements for federal approval of waivers for a state-based system.
- HCA supporters have been lobbying members of the governor’s Healthy California for All Commission, insisting they focus exclusively on single payer as they explore ‘unified financing’ for universal health care in the state.
Obstacles to SP in the current context
- Few elected officials are onboard.
- Many in California do not yet understand the benefits of SPM4A.
- Those against SPM4A have tremendous resources.
- Threat of the coronavirus put a hold on much of our outreach.
Advantages for SPM4A in the current context
- California Congressman Ro Khanna’s HR 3775 State Based Universal Health Care Act of 2021 simplifies the waiver process and allows each state to develop its own program as long as the program meets federal standards.
- Governor Newsom’s Healthy California for All Commission is meeting again to develop a plan for advancing progress toward achieving a health care delivery system for California.
Where can people find news about Single Payer in your state and/or join a group?
California Progressive Alliance Single Payer Action Team, Nick Cortez: email@example.com
Health Care for All, David Campbell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Healthy California Now, Carolyn Bowden: Carolyn@healthyca.org
Physicians for a National Heath Program, Kathleen Healey: email@example.com
California Alliance for Retired Americans. https://californiaalliance.org/
California Nurses Association https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/california-nurses-association
Heal California https://heal-ca.org/
Health Care for All California https://healthcareforall.org/
Healthy California Now https://healthyca.org/
Physicians for a National Health Program https://pnhp.org/chapter/california/