By Michael Sainato
In California, the fight for single payer healthcare rages on despite Democrat Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shutting down a single payer healthcare bill, SB 562, from being voted on in the State House after it passed in the Senate. In California, Democrats hold a super majority in the state legislature and the Governor’s seat, providing them with an opportunity to pass progressive legislation. The criticisms toward the bill were that it was “woefully inadequate,” yet any debate or amendments were prevented as Rendon sided with his pharmaceutical and health insurance industry donors who opposed the bill to deny that process from continuing. The Democratic Party establishment has pleaded with the National Nurses United and progressive activists in the state to give up fighting for it, as its rendered negative publicity for the Democrats nationwide. But the Democratic Party has no excuse to not be working to make it a reality.
Single payer-healthcare solves the dilemma millions of Americans face who still lack access to healthcare, and the millions more who are burdened with medical debt, high premiums and deductibles, or avoid obtaining the medical treatment they need because even with insurance, they can’t afford the costs or the prescription drugs their illnesses or ailments require. Costs are frequently cited as a deterrent toward supporting single-payer healthcare, but as Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) recently pointed out on Twitter, “When Republicans talk about the $32 trillion cost of single payer, can every Dem please point out the current system costs $49 trillion!”
Even many Republicans have admitted that single-payer healthcare is ultimately inevitable. Fox News Columnist Charles Krauthammer predicted in May 2017 that single-payer healthcare will be passed in seven years, and he acknowledged in an op-ed for Washington Post that the consensus across the country is increasingly supporting this policy.
On July 7, activists protested California Democratic Party leadership against their opposition to single-payer healthcare and are pushing a Recall Rendon campaign to recall Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon from his elected office for shutting down the single payer healthcare bill. At an even, DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison was drowned out during a speech with chants from activists demanding “single-payer now.” Ellison tried to explain the DNC’s “Resistance Summer” campaign, but was frequently interrupted by activists who filled the room. The activists walked out once California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman took the stage to speak, in protest of the contested election for California Democratic Party Chair that Chair Candidate Kimberly Ellis has reported was tarnished with dozens of ineligible and questionable votes. The California Democratic Party Compliance Review Commission found 223 problematic votes in an election decided by only 62 votes. Like Democrats have been doing nationwide because the undemocratic election favors the party’s leadership and establishment, the fraudulent election result is being ignored. The election is symptomatic of a Democratic Party that lacks the political will to fight for progressive principles, just as it continues making excuses for refusing to fully support and fight for a single-payer healthcare system in the United States.
“The real issue is not cost – it is political will and political priorities. Will state legislators be accountable to the 40 percent of the state’s population who remain without any coverage or out of pocket costs so high they face financial stress or ruin if they seek to get care?,” wrote National Nurses United Director Roseann Demoro in an op-ed on July 14 announcing the nurses would not back down from Democrats who insist they remain quiet and fall in line behind the party’s inaction. “Or will they continue to protect their corporate donors who hold as much sway in Sacramento, even with its two-thirds Democratic majority, as they do in Trump’s Washington?”