Guest comment: Universal health care for California

Bruce McLean

California is primed to lead the way for the country by bringing universal health care to the Golden State. With 70 percent citizen support for Medicare for All (MFA); a governor who as mayor had overseen the implementation of Healthy San Francisco and who ran in support of establishing something similar statewide; and a Democratic supermajority in the California legislature, the time is ripe.

All of this is against the background of COVID-19, which has hospitalized and killed so many Californians. Many lacked universal access to quality healthcare before the pandemic, and the coverage for hundreds of thousands more is in jeopardy thanks to dramatic job losses. That’s not to mention the obscene costs in general of the current patchwork health-care “system.”

All this highlights the great need for Universal, Simple and Affordable (USA) health care, i.e. Medicare for All. A huge coalition led by the California Nurses Association, the Healthy California Now umbrella organization, Physicians for a National Health Program, Health Care for All and more have formed the CalCare movement in an effort secure to secure California MFA.

Of course, the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future lobby will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to try to stop MFA. They represent the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and the American Hospital Association, which together are responsible for America paying nearly twice as much while receiving half as much as similar nations.

To kick off its statewide campaign, CalCare is organizing Medicare for All caravans in 20 cities across California on Saturday, Feb. 6. To participate in Chico’s caravan, meet at the Chico Area Recreation and Park District (CARD) parking lot at 545 Vallombrosa Ave. between 10 and 11 a.m. This is a COVID-safe action; just make sure your horn works!

The author is a Chico resident.

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