Democratic House Speaker Pulls Plug on California’s Single-Payer Bill
Advocates of the single-payer healthcare proposal which has been steadily advancing through the California legislature were voicing outrage and disappointment on Saturday after Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, a Democrat, announced he was pulling the bill from further consideration this year.
“If the great state of California has the courage to take on the greed of the insurance companies and the drug companies, the rest of the country will follow. The eyes are on California today.” —Sen. Bernie SandersKnown as the Healthy California Act, or SB 562, the measure had already passed the state Senate and was making its way through the lower chamber when Rendon said Friday it was being shelved by the Assembly Rules Committee, which he chairs, “until further notice.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has vocally promoted SB 562 amid a broader call for a national Medicare-for-All system, said he was”extremely disappointed” and called on Rendon to reverse his decision.
“At a time when the United States is the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care for all, and when tens of millions of Americans are uninsured or underinsured because of outrageously high costs, California has the opportunity to lead this nation in a very different health care direction,” Sanders said. “If the great state of California has the courage to take on the greed of the insurance companies and the drug companies, the rest of the country will follow. The eyes are on California today.”
It is time “go forward,” Sanders added. “Allow the Assembly to vote.”
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, a lead sponsor of the bill, was busy on Saturday echoing Sanders’ call, urging all California Assembly members to declare their support for SB 562 and arguing it was not too late to oppose Rendon’s decision.
Deborah Burger, co-president of the CNA/NNU, said the timing of the move—just a day after Republicans in the U.S. Senate released their disastrous Trumpcare bill—was particularly troubling.
“With daily reminders of millions of patients already priced out of access to care, and subjected to the callous practices and care denials of the insurance industry there could hardly be a more heartless response to the Senate bill than Speaker Rendon’s Friday night announcement,” Burger said.
Though she was hardly alone, Roseann DeMoro, CNA/NNU’s executive director, made it clear she was disgusted that it was a Democrat behind the decision.