California Lawmakers Attacked Our Healthcare

California’s legislature is sabotaging a bill that would guarantee all citizens in the state healthcare.

California Senate Bill 562 would guarantee complete care to all residents of California including vision, dental, and reproductive services. In a comprehensive economic study, Professor Robert Pollin of University of Massachusetts at Amherst demonstrated how under a socialized system California would save $37 billion and how under the current privatized system the state will inevitably spend 10% more on healthcare in the next few years. Meaning California will go from spending approximately $370 billion to $400 billion.

Despite this, SB 562 was shelved into a farce of a committee, the “Select Committee on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage,” by Speaker of the House Anthony Rendon. The committee has served as a place where the voices of those who were writing and sponsoring the bill were silenced. Co-Sponsor of the bill, Assemblymember David Chiu, seems to be the only member of the committee who was genuinely intent on getting Californian’s healthcare. The California Nurses Association, the largest Nurses union in California and the loudest sponsors and advocates of the bill were not invited to speak before the committee until the last day of hearings on February 7, 2018. Despite this CNA and their coalition partners successfully filled the hearing room and multiple overflow rooms.

Jim Wood, the committee’s co-chair,had the audacity to open this hearing by praising Jeff Bezos and the Amazon corporation for their announced attempt to create a health insurance company. Committee members continually asked condescending, leading questions that CNA representatives and Professor Pollin had already answered. Rather than trying to understand the bill, most of the committee members seemed intent to find fault with it.

The committee hearings are a blatant attempt to derail the closest California has come to socialized medicine. Especially when considering the fact that multiple members of the committee have received campaign contributions from the private health industry. Jim Wood alone has collected as much as $510,797 from the private health industry, this includes donors such as Blue Shield, Walgreens, and CVS.

Corporate interests are keeping the people who live in one of the world’s largest economies away from universalized, comprehensive care. A majority of the state’s population favors universal coverage, yet the so called representatives of California seem more concerned with protecting a private system that is killing people and denying them access to care.

Sources connected to both the CNA and the legislature has also informed me that an “alternative bill” is being written as we speak, one of the things apparently being reconsidered is a law restoring the ACA individual mandate. Once again putting the burden on the consumer.

When asked “Are there any qualified economists who believe the current American healthcare system is working?” Professor Pollin delivered a confident, straight forward answer, “No.”

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