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July 17, 2007 > OneCareNow - health care for all

OneCareNow - health care for all

By Syeda Reshma Yunus

The health care system in the United States is clearly sick. Our health care system is one of the most expensive among the industrialized countries and yet the World Health Organization rates us as 37th in overall healthcare performance [1]. California is no exception. Over seven million people in California alone are uninsured and many more are underinsured [2]

There have been many proposals put forth, including mandating individuals to purchase insurance [3]. The League of Women Voters of California ("LWVC") and the its local arm, the League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark and Union City ("LWVFNUC"), after reviewing the various proposed options to remedy the healthcare system, support single payer universal healthcare. LWVC and LWVFNUC along with thousands of others support Senate Bill 840, titled "The California Health Insurance Reliability Act", authored by State Senator Sheila Kuehl.

This landmark legislation provides fiscally sound, affordable and comprehensive coverage via single payer universal health insurance for all Californians. SB 840 would require replacing all health premiums, taxes, deductibles and co-payments now paid by employers, employees and individuals with one affordable premium paid to the public trust fund. Proponents expect that the bill will save $8 billion in the first year alone and $344 billion over a ten year period [4]. This legislation would replace the current 1,500 plus insurance plans in existence in California with a more cost effective universal access health care system.

SB 840 passed both the State Senate and Assembly in last year's legislative session. However, it was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger on September 22, 2006 on the grounds that "healthcare is not a right" [5]. Proponents of SB 840 have noted that the Governor received $4 million in campaign funds from the Insurance Industry [5]. Despite last year's obstruction, Senator Kueh and supporters have forged on ahead with its re-introduction in this year's legislative session. SB 840 has passed the State Senate and is now in the Assembly.

The League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark and Union City ("The League") is participating in OneCareNow, a grass roots campaign to educate Californians about single payer universal healthcare. The OneCareNow campaign is holding health care awareness activities in 365 cities throughout California. The campaign started in August 2006 and will continue until August 2007. Every day for 365 days, one city in California will be asked to support the concept of making sure that all Californians have health care. July 18, 2007 is the day devoted to Fremont. Presenters will include Assemblymember Alberto Torrico, Co-author of SB 840; Ms. Pat Snyder, League of Women Voters of California; Mr. Andrew McGuire, Executive Director, Health Care for All.

February 12, 2007 was the City of Newark's day. In February, the League passed out flyers and presented information about SB 840 to the Newark City Council. May 5th was Union City's awareness day. On May 22, 2007, Union City passed a resolution in favor of SB 840.
Fremont's awareness activities will include leafleting at various theaters which are showing Michel Moore's recent documentary about the deplorable state of our healthcare system - "Sicko." The major event planned will be a forum featuring knowledgeable speakers who will shed light on the various proposals.


Reference links:
[1] World Health Organization: 2000 report: www.who.int/whr/2000/en/index.html
[2] Health Care for All: www.healthcareforall.org/healthcare_crisis.html
[3] This site has a readable summary: Health Access California: www.health-access.org/advocating/2007_bills.html
[4] Health Care for All: www.healthcareforall.org/studies.html - based on the Lewin Group 2004 study.
[5] OneCareNow: www.onecarenow.org/sb840.htm



OneCareNow - health care for all
Wednesday, July 18
7 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
Fremont Main Library
2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont
(510) 207-9057
www.lwvfnuc.org
www.onecarenow.org
www.healthcareforall.org






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