As California’s latest attempt to enact single-payer universal healthcare was placed on hold this week, progressive campaigners vowed to carry on the fight, while pressing embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom to fulfill his campaign promise to implement a Medicare for All-style system in the nation’s most populous state.
“It’s not a coincidence that Bernie Sanders won the California Democratic primary with this as a leading issue, and those voters are crucial to the governor’s prospects in the recall.”
Healthy California Now
On Wednesday evening, state Assembly Member Ash Kalra (D-27) announced he would withdraw Assembly Bill 1400—the California Guaranteed Healthcare for All Act (CalCare)—from consideration this year so that lawmakers could work out how to fund the ambitious measure before possibly reviving it next year.
A.B. 1400—introduced in February by Kalra and Assembly Members Alex Lee (D-25) and Miguel Santiago (D-53), and sponsored by the California Nurses Association (CNA)—would establish a single-payer healthcare system for all Californians, regardless of income, immigration, or any other status, while expanding healthcare coverage to include nearly three million uninsured Golden State residents. It would also offer generous benefits including dental visits, prescription drug coverage, and long-term care.
Upon its introduction, Kalra said the bill “represents the belief that healthcare is truly a human right” and “will set us on a real path towards a single-payer system and affirms the policy that would save lives, decrease suffering, and improve public health in California.”
Around 70% of Californians—and a similar percentage of people across the United States—support Medicare for All. A.B. 1400 enjoys the backing of grassroots progressive groups including Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), RootsAction, the new Daybreak PAC, as well as influential figures including single-payer campaigner Ady Barkan, National Nurses United executive director Bonnie Castillo, and actor and activist Rosario Dawson.