Join DSA-LA to Fight for Single-Payer Healthcare!
DSA-LA is organizing block-by-block to build a mass movement for California single-payer healthcare. For months, we have been canvassing and mobilizing in support of the Healthy California Act, SB-562, and more broadly Single Payer Healthcare.
Across the state, California DSA chapters have joined The Campaign for a Healthy California, a coalition of more than 50 labor and grassroots groups led by the California Nurses Association in support of the Healthy California Act, SB 562, which would make California single-payer healthcare a reality (text of the bill).
What Is Single-Payer Healthcare?
Single-payer healthcare guarantees full coverage to all California residents and protects healthcare as a human right. All healthcare would be covered — doctors visits, prescriptions, procedures, mental health, vision, and dental — with zero co-pays, deductibles, or premiums. Moreover, all California residents would be covered, regardless of age, income, or preexisting conditions, or marital, work, or immigration status.
Under a single-payer system, 95 percent of Californians would stand to get better care at lower overall costs. Currently, 30 cents of every dollar spent on healthcare goes in the pockets of insurance companies. A single-payer system would save money by eliminating shareholder profit needs and by creating greater leverage to negotiate prices with providers and pharmaceutical companies. Check out this FAQ on how single-payer works in general.
Past legislative efforts for California single-payer have come very close. The unprecedented grassroots campaign for Prop. 186 in 1994, though defeated by the for-profit insurance industry, set the stage for future efforts such as SB 840, which passed in 2006 and 2008 but was vetoed by governor Arnold Schwarzenegger both times. It was reintroduced as SB 810 in 2010, and in 2011 it came within a hair of passing. This year, with Republicans threatening to attack healthcare nationally, we have the momentum to make single-payer healthcare a reality in California.
How Does Single-Payer Healthcare Relate to Socialism and the DSA?
As socialists, we believe that quality healthcare should be provided to all, regardless of income, employment, or citizenship status. That is why we have joined the Campaign for a Healthy California coalition to fight for a single-payer system, which will decommodify health insurance and guarantee healthcare as a right to every resident of California.
But here's the thing: this won't be easy. The previous efforts for California single-payer have failed because business interests, which make exorbitant profits off of private insurance (read: off of our healthcare!), fought tooth and nail to kill them. In this campaign, you can bet they're going to do the same. They'll spread false information and sow fear (sound familiar?) so that they can keep profiting from life-saving medical care that should be guaranteed as a human right. That's why it's crucial to rally together and build support block by block, community by community. If enough of us get involved, we can beat the insurance industry and make healthcare a human right in California.
The best part: by fighting for single-payer this year, we will be training cohorts of confident socialist organizers and leaders, who in turn will activate hundreds and thousands of volunteers. We can engage millions of Californians around left politics and build our capacities to win even bigger victories in the future on issues that seriously impact the working class, like housing, education, and immigration.
What Have We Done So Far?
DSA-LA has gotten active and mobilized quickly, thanks to the energy and dedication of all of our members.
We have been working closely with Healthy CA and the Nurses Union to participate and help set up a number of rallies across Los Angeles. We have phone banked with them, and canvassed with them.
We are also beginning our own programs to push for Single Payer Healthcare more broadly, as proud Socialists. We believe that we can win the hearts and minds of Los Angelenos in support of Universal Healthcare.
We are currently developing a canvassing leader training program, to begin our next major step of mobilizing all neighborhoods in Los Angeles, in support of Universal Healthcare.
How to Get Involved
The campaign for California single-payer healthcare is heating up. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to participate in these upcoming events. If you want to hear more about upcoming events and opportunities related to our single-payer healthcare campaign, join DSA-LA.
Much of the text and strategies were given to us by our friends in the East Bay DSA. We couldn't have done it without them!