On behalf of members of the Healthy Californian campaign, as well as supporters of single payer and the Healthy California Act (SB 562), we call on you to release the bill from the Rules Committee and allow the democratic process in the Assembly to move forward. Healthy California is a campaign of more than 350 organizations representing six million Californians who support guaranteed healthcare for all in the Golden State. We represent nurses, teachers, doctors, healthcare providers, students, patients, businesses, labor, seniors, community, disability and immigrant rights organizations who all agree that California must address the current healthcare crisis by passing SB 562 (Lara & Atkins).
While you have publicly stated that SB 562 was incomplete, we respectfully remind you that 17 amendments to address the concerns expressed by your staff were submitted to the author hours before you put the bill on hold. As you know, the only way to make any changes to the bill is through committee amendments. Until you move the bill forward, we have no vehicle to address any of the concerns you raise. Additionally, this bill is modeled after one passed by the New York Assembly the past three years and that was developed with our extensive stakeholder process and statewide outreach to labor, patients, healthcare and community advocates – a vetting that your action now stands impedes.
As the GOP attacks on healthcare continue, this is the only solution that saves our state $37 billion annually, provides healthcare to everyone (including dental, vision, mental health and reproductive services), and saves countless lives. We encourage you to review the 88 page comprehensive economic analysis led by Dr. Robert Pollin at the University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute. The financing model proposed will save on our current healthcare costs and demonstrates savings for businesses and individuals alike. This is not a surprise. The 2005 Lewin Group study for former Senator Kuehl’s single payer bill showed California would save $34 billion a year. Additionally every other industrialized nation has demonstrated this for decades. A financing plan for SB 562 has always been intended to be included in the bill yet because of tight timelines it needed to be added in the Assembly. Your action ties our hands to make that amendment.
Mr. Speaker, you stated, “Preparing California to meet this threat must be the top health care priority for the Legislature, Governor Brown, and organizations that advocate for increasing access to health care”. California has a unique opportunity to solve healthcare for good for our residents and lead the healthcare justice movement for the nation. In a recent survey, seventy percent of Californians support SB 562 as that solution. The people of California are counting on you to make our healthcare a top priority and put forward real solutions to the current system that allows insurance and pharmaceutical companies to profit off the health of Californians. Lives are counting on you to release SB 562, allow the 17 amendments to go forward, provide a path to include financing. We know transforming the healthcare system in California is a big task and will take time – the time to get started is now. We cannot delay and we need strong leadership today. We know there is still time to reverse your decision next week.
Do not stand in the way of democracy - let the Assembly vote on the only healthcare solution that saves billions and covers all of their constituents.
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