Single Payer Bill SB 810 passed Senate Health Committee, California

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In a room packed with nurses from the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, California School Employees Association members, and community healthcare activists from across the state, California’s latest bill to establish a universal, single payer health reform passed its first legislative test Wednesday afternoon.

SB 810 passed the Senate Health Committee on a 7-4 party line vote. The bill next heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Introducing the bill, author Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco noted that “more than 12 million Californians were uninsured at some point last year. Yet with all the money we spend today on health care, we could have a modern, universal health care system that provides quality care for everyone. SB 810 is the solution to our growing health care crisis.”

California is one of more than half a dozen states with similar state legislation this year, in conjunction with national legislation in the House, HR 676, and the Senate, S 703. A hearing on the Pennsylvania single payer bill, HB 1660, is planned this Friday, and follows passage of a resolution by the Philadelphia City Council urging adoption of national and state single payer legislation.

In testimony in Sacramento Wednesday, Malinda Markowitz, RN, CNA/NNOC co-president, noted that nurses witness the healthcare crisis every day and know that bills like SB 810 are the most effective solution to the calamity faced by so many families.

“Nurses know insurance companies don’t provide any value in the delivery of medicine. Under SB 810, we would be free of their interference, their denial of care, their massive bureaucracy, and their waste of health care dollars,” she said.

In January, testified Parker Duncan on behalf of the American Medical Students Association, “we had over 400 health professional students ? medical, nursing, public health — from over 25 campuses around California who brought you this message: “We are the future of healthcare, and we support SB 810…. This bill is the fundamental one we must establish before we can address any other issues. SB 810 will finally allow us to treat each person based upon clinical presentation, not the cash or card he or she carries in a wallet.”

Others lining up in support of SB 810 Wednesday included One Care healthcare activists, California Association of Retired Americans, and a number of labor organizations.

SB 810 establishes a state-administered system to provide comprehensive coverage to all Californians, delivered by our current mostly private network of physicians, hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other providers. Coverage would no longer be tied to job status or health condition or subject to ever rising premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

Source: California Nurses Association, USA

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