SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 1 The CaliforniaNurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee today hailed theCalifornia Legislature's passage of a single-payer, expanded Medicare for all,style bill that would guarantee quality health care for all Californians --and called it a model for the national healthcare reform debate that is sureto emerge in 2009.
SB 840, authored by State Senator Sheila Kuehl, passed its finallegislative hurdle with a vote in the State Senate today and is headed to thedesk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who vetoed an earlier version of the billtwo years ago.
"But a lot has changed since then, including the further implosion of ourhealthcare safety net, and the Governor's own professed support for universalhealthcare," said CNA/NNOC co-president Malinda Markowitz, RN. Nurses willremind Schwarzenegger of that pledge, she said.
"Our healthcare crisis today has become a clear and present danger to thehealth, safety, and economic security of all Californians and all Americans.We need comprehensive reform that will genuinely fix this broken system andend this national nightmare, starting in California and then in Washington,"said Markowitz. CNA/NNOC is the principal sponsor of the bill.
SB 840 establishes a state-administered system to provide comprehensivecoverage to all Californians, delivered by our current mostly private networkof physicians, hospitals, doctors' offices, and other providers. Coveragewould no longer be tied to job status or health condition or subject to everrising premiums, co-pays and deductibles.
In her statement today, Kuehl explained that SB 840 "takes the money we'realready spending and uses it more efficiently to cover everyone. We're wastinga third of our health care dollars on bureaucracy because insurance companiesmakes the system too complicated, premiums are skyrocketing and thousands ofCalifornians are dying every year because of preventable medical errors. Ifthe Governor again fails to sign this bill, our health care system will justcontinue its slide toward becoming a second world health care system."
"Poll after poll shows an overwhelming public yearning for comprehensivehealthcare reform with a government guarantee of healthcare for all," saidMarkowitz.
SB 840, and a similar bill in Congress, HR 676, are the only reforms, saidMarkowitz, that cure the two central components of the healthcare crisis --insurance companies' denials of needed medical care, and the financial crisisfaced by many families due to soaring medical bills.
SOURCE California Nurses Association