On Thursday on the steps of the Capitol a coalition of labor unions and community organizations who are in support of a new health care single-payer system concluded a four day-day, six city publicity tour.
The goal of "It's Our Healthcare" is to put pressure on lawmakers in hopes of passing a new single-payer health care system.
There was a large and enthusiastic crowd with a large amount of labor leaders, union members, local leaders, and other residents who came out in support of health care reform.
One the key speakers was Lt. Governor John Garamendi who spoke passionately of the need for health care reform. He spoke about how the cost of health care was vastly outstripping inflation. He spoke in a favor of a health care system that was "affordable and available" to everyone in this state.
"No matter how hard you work, no matter how many hours a day you work, everyone is at risk of losing their health care, losing their job, losing their home, and losing their life. It's got to change and it can change."Local leaders attending the rally included Assemblyman Dave Jones from Sacramento who also spoke, Davis Mayor Sue Greenwald, Yolo County Supervisor Mariko Yamada, and School Board Member Sheila Allen. Notably absent from the rally was Lois Wolk, who some sources have said has just now signed on to support Dave Jones' legislation, but she has not been a leader on this issue.
"America knows how to do this. We have created in the United States a single-payer universal health care system that is available to every federal employee. It's there, we know how to do a universal health care system that allows people to get health care wherever they want from whatever provider they want to get it from. When they say we can't do it, hey we've done it for every American over 65 years of age. It's called Medicare. So don't tell us we can't create a universal system that fairly distributes the cost of our system to all parts of the economy, all parts of our society. We have done it for the most expansive part of the American population senior citizens. It is a universal, single-payer health care system that allows every person over 65 years of age to have quality health care, universally available, throughout the United States."
There are a number of different proposal going through the Capitol. Some of the unions are pushing for a compromise that would provide for affordable, accessible, health care for all.
As Garamendi suggested, it is an embarrassing fact that the United States is the worst of the industrialized countries of the world in terms of health care quality and coverage for its citizens. In this day and age, it is remarkable that people are losing their lives and their health due to the lack of access to basic health services in the wealthiest country in the world. That needs to change and it is long overdue.
---Doug Paul Davis reporting