“I had a patient who, because of the complications with their insurance, there was a delay in getting them to the appropriate hospital, which ultimately ended up in their death. If there weren’t complications with the insurance, they very likely would’ve been alive today.”
- Raha Mirabdal, Registered Nurse & East Bay DSA member
Join East Bay DSA to Fight for California Medicare for All!
If there was ever a time to guarantee health care as a human right, now is that time. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed more clearly than ever the catastrophic failures of our for-profit health care system. It has laid bare the injustice, the inequality, and the indifference to human suffering that are endemic to the for-profit health insurance model — and to capitalism.
Millions of workers have lost their jobs following business closures and mass layoffs. Because our current patchwork of a health care system ties health insurance to employment, millions of working-class Californians are now without health care. Amid a worldwide pandemic and economic crisis unlike any other in modern history, this is unacceptable.
What is California Medicare for All?
California Medicare for All is a proposal for a single-payer health care system. It would guarantee full coverage and provide health care as a human right to all California residents. California M4A would cover all health care — doctor visits, dental, vision, mental health, and pharmaceuticals — with no copays, fees, deductibles, or premiums. It would cover all California residents, regardless of age, income, preexisting conditions, marital status, work, or immigration status.
Under a single-payer system, 95 percent of Californians would stand to get better care at lower overall costs. Right now, 30 cents of every dollar spent on health care goes into the pockets of insurance companies. A single-payer system would save money by eliminating shareholder profits and giving the government leverage to negotiate lower prices with providers and pharmaceutical companies. Check out this FAQ on how single-payer systems work.
Past legislative efforts for California single-payer have come very close. The unprecedented grassroots campaign for Proposition 186 in 1994, though defeated by the for-profit insurance industry, set the stage for future efforts. SB 840 passed the state legislature in 2006 and 2008 but was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger both times. California lawmakers introduced another single-payer bill, SB 810, in 2010, which came within a hair of passing. In 2017, East Bay DSA, partnering with Healthy California Now, fought a tough battle for single-payer through SB 562 — The Healthy California Act. While the bill passed the state Senate, it died in the state Assembly.
Gov. Gavin Newsom ran for governor as a single-payer supporter. Now, we must force him to say which side he is on: the side of giant pharmaceutical and health insurance corporations, or the side of California’s working class?
How Does California Medicare for All Relate to Democratic Socialism and DSA?
As democratic socialists, we believe that high-quality, comprehensive health care should be provided to all United States residents — non-citizens included. That is why we have joined Healthy California Now to fight for a single-payer system, decommodify health insurance, and guarantee health care as a right to every California resident. California Nurses Association leads Healthy California Now, a coalition of labor unions and grassroots groups.
We believe we can win Medicare for All in the country’s most populous state, because it is a universal demand that appeals to the majority of Californians. One piece of evidence? U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders won 51 of 58 counties and over two million votes in the 2020 California Democratic presidential primary.
Medicare for All will disproportionately benefit low-income people, people of color, single mothers, immigrants, and those with disabilities. Fighting for universal demands with broad bases of social support allows us to unify diverse sections of the working class and forge solidarity across the divisions which the ruling class uses to divide and conquer.
Beyond the concrete goal of winning single-payer, our campaign for California M4A can advance our struggle by heightening class conflict, weakening sections of the capitalist class, and empowering the working class to make further demands. This momentum can contribute to a popular consensus around the decommodification of other basic necessities like housing and education, and establish the working-class organization and militancy we need to win a society that puts people over profit.
What Have We Done So Far?
We know that it will take a mass, grassroots movement to win Medicare for All in California. East Bay DSA has joined Healthy California Now to fight for California Medicare for All.
Since our relaunch in the fight to win California Medicare for All on Jan. 21, 2021, we have led daily phone banks with local DSA chapters across California to pressure Gov. Gavin Newsom to support single-payer health care, created a series of videos from frontline nurses explaining the urgency for Medicare for All, and are working with our allies to introduce a single-payer bill in the California State Legislature.
How to Get Involved
The California Medicare for All campaign is just getting started, and we need your help to win. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to participate in upcoming events. If you want to hear more about upcoming events and opportunities related to our single-payer health care campaign, join East Bay DSA.