From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: East Bay | Labor & Workers
Guess Who Is Opposed To Introducing Single Pay Into CA Legislature-CNA And Democrats
by repost
Wednesday Feb 20th, 2013 7:46 PM
The CNA led by Rose Ann Demoro the executive in charge of the California Nurses Association and has always argued that the CNA in in favor of single payer and healthcare for all. Now Demoro and the CNA executives are saying they are opposed to introducing a single payer bill into the California legislature because Jerry Brown and the Democrats want to support Obamacare. Is this principled politics or selling out single payer to cozy up to Brown and the Democratic Party?
Guess Who Is Opposed To Introducing Single Pay Into CA Legislature-CNA And Democrats “The California Nurses were the only group to argues against it.”
February 19, 2013

Filed under: News — russell @ 8:36 pm
Guess who is opposed to introducing a single payer bill into the California legislature this session?

There are the usual suspects — the insurance companies and the Republicans.

But then you have, also in opposition — the California Democratic Party — including Governor Jerry Brown and Senator Mark Leno, the author of the California single payer bill for the past two sessions — and the California Nurses Association.

On the other hand, all of the California public interest groups pushing for single payer — including eight out of the nine groups that make up the Campaign for a Healthy California — are trying to get the bill introduced.

Those eight in favor are: Single Payer Now, Health Care for All, Physicians for a National Health Program, California Health Professional Student Alliance, OneCare, League Women Voters, California Alliance for Retired Americans, and the Green Party.

The one member of the Campaign opposed to reintroducing the bill into the state legislature — the California Nurses Association.

Don Bechler of Single Payer Now says that tension is building within the Campaign for a Healthy California.

“For the last two sessions, we’ve voted to push for introduction of a single payer bill,” Bechler said. “The California Nurses were the only group to argue against it.”

We rang up Charles Idelson of the California Nurses Association and asked him if it was true that the his group was opposing introduction of a single payer bill in the legislature this year.

“You’re saying that the single biggest obstacle to single payer in California is the California Nurses,” Idelson said. “How idiotic is that?”

Pretty idiotic.

But that wasn’t the question.

The question was — is it true that your group is opposing introduction of a single payer bill in the legislature this year?

“I’m not interested in this story,” Idelson said. “I’m really not.”

End of conversation.

But 30 minutes later, the California Nurses policy director, Michael Lighty, calls back to explain.

Lighty confirms that his group is not in favor of reintroducing the single payer bill into the California legislature this year.

But it’s not because they are siding with the Democrats.

It’s just a tactical difference with the other single payer groups.

“The groups that favor re-introducing the bill want to organize around it,” Lighty said. “We think if it’s introduced, it will die a quick death in committee, and then what?”

“Just because the Democrats control the legislature doesn’t mean they will pass single payer,” Lighty says. “Just because they are Democrats doesn’t mean they are for single payer. Look at the six Senate Democrats who voted against it last time.”

Lighty says the California Nurses will organize California with an eye on 2016, a Presidential election year.

“It’s eventually going to be on the ballot anyway because the insurance industry will force it on the ballot,” he said. “So, we might as well build with an eye toward a bigger more progressive electorate.”

Bechler says “they might say that, but they don’t believe that.”

“Look at the federal Robin Hood tax. That doesn’t have a chance to pass the Congress, but the California Nurses found a few members of Congress to introduce it. Why? It’s a flag to organize around.”

“Something else is going on in California,” Bechler says.

The California single payer bill passed both houses for two consecutive sessions — in 2006 and 2008.

Both times, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.

Then Democrat Jerry Brown became Governor.

“In 2010, Leno’s bill passes the Senate 22 to 14,” Bechler says.

“In August 2010, it comes up in the Assembly. And Assembly Speaker John Perez tells Senator Leno — ‘I don’t want this coming up for a floor vote. It will hurt moderate Democrats chances of getting elected.”

And so, the Assembly doesn’t vote on it and it dies an untimely death.

“My hunch is that even if the Assembly passed it, Governor Brown would have vetoed it,” Bechler says.

Fast forward to 2012.

Again, the Democrats control both the Senate and Assembly.

This time, Leno’s bill didn’t make it out of the Senate.

There were 40 members of the Senate — 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans.

“Six Blue Dog Democrats sided with 15 Republicans to vote the bill down,” Bechler says. “In 2012, it never made it out of the Senate.”

Okay, fast forward to 2013.

Again, the Governor is a Democrat.

And the Democrats have super-majorities in both houses.

They control the Assembly — 48 Democrats to 32 Republicans.

And they control the Senate — 27 Democrats to 13 Republicans.

A couple of months ago, the leadership of the single payer movement in California met with Leno.

“Leno informed us that he doesn’t want to introduce the bill this year,” Bechler said. “He said — my colleagues asked me — ‘What part of no don’t you understand?”

“Mark didn’t walk into the room and say — ‘I’m a servant of the people, let’s talk strategy,’” Bechler says.

“He announced his decision not to be the author this year. He is consulting not with us, but with the Governor. The Speaker of the Assembly. The Speaker of the Senate. He was speaking for the leadership of the Democratic Party. They don’t want this bill coming forward.”

Bechler says not one member of the Assembly has stepped forward to introduce the single payer bill.

The single payer groups even approached Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, considered by many the most liberal member of the California legislature.

“Ammiano got passed the San Francisco Health Plan,” Bechler says. “He’s the legislator of last resort for progressives. And he called me and told me that he didn’t want to introduce the single payer bill into the Assembly.”
§CNA Used To Support Single Payer
by repost Wednesday Feb 20th, 2013 7:46 PM
In the past the CNA said it wanted to have single payer on the table. Now it is kowtowing to the California Democratic party leadership and liberals like Leno and Ammiano and is opposing event putting a bill into the Democratic legislature for single payer.
§The Fraud Called Obamacare
by repost Wednesday Feb 20th, 2013 7:46 PM
Obamacare is a fraud perpetrated by the Obama administration to pretend it will help but keeps the insurance company and drug industry in control of healthcare and now the CNA leadership has capitulated to this corporate controlled bill in California because it does not want to conflict with the insurance controlled Democratic party.
by Charles Minster
Thursday Feb 21st, 2013 7:53 PM
It will take workers revolution and a workers government to secure free public health care for all. The idea that a single social program has a chance with the present capitalist system is like thinking that the State of Virginia could have abolished slavery and would have been allowed by the slave owning class. We need to spend our energies on the building of a revolutionary political alternative to the bosses parties and not spin our wheels and resources on needed but unrealizible reforms. Under capitalism any health care "reform" like Obamacare would please and reward the insurance, hospital and medical profession and screw the workers and poor. The age of reform has passed but the liberal Democrats and their followers would like us to believe that capitalism can still be reformed. The sooner that delusion andr misleadership is acknowledged the better for the future of the masses of this and the world's society.
by Charles Andrews
Monday Feb 25th, 2013 8:30 AM
Medicare for All is a popular idea. It is economically feasible under capitalism, too. The cold water is that most capitalists are bitterly opposed to it.

California single payer leaders (the honchos of Health Care for All-California, Single Payer Now, Vote Health in Alameda County, and so on) refuse to recognize the reality. They will acknowledge it in words - but their actual strategy starts with a bill, hoping some day to mount a ballot initiative.

They put a huge portion of energy into lobbying Democratic legislators. That started about fifteen years ago when they moved or commuted to Sacramento pushing the legislature for an "objective" study of health care plans. They were confident that a study would show businessmen how good single payer is for everyone. Instead, they walked into the disaster of the Health Care Options Project, a ridiculous and low-quality wonkfest dominated by the Lewin Group. At least the HCOP never caught the attention of most Californians.

The class-unity line leads right to the current carrot being dangled in front of people: Look, Obamacare itself allows states to adopt single payer, starting in 2017! They ignore that the path to federal approval of a state plan in the Obamacare statute is mined with undefined gotchas.

Even as PNHP-California sought a last-minute sponsor in the California legislature, its appeal said, "We are told that the legislature is focused on implementing the ... Affordable Care Act (ACA). Tell our Assemblymembers they can chew gum and walk at the same time! Although a single payer system cannot go into effect until 2017 – the date the Affordable Care Act allows states to go beyond the ACA..."

What a cute phrase: we can chew gum and walk at the same time. And true, provided that chewing gum means we campaign for Medicare for All because it is what the people of this country need, and damn those who enjoy luxury care while denying it to the rest of us. Support mass actions for it to the maximum feasible scope at any moment. And walking while chewing gum means we expose the fraud of Obamacare and the economic, political, and ideological reasons for the bitter capitalist opposition to equal care for all.

For years California single payer leaders played nice with Democratic legislators, who sent a bill to the governor when he was a Republican sure to veto it. That strategy soured in 2010 when a final vote was denied just as Jerry Brown campaigned to become governor. Now the strategy has collapsed completely with the refusal of every single Democratic legislator to introduce a bill.

You cannot play by their rules and win.