"SB 840 is FOR universal health care and AGAINST the hegemony of the insurance corporations!" --Sen. Sheila Kuehl.

"There can be no reform of healthcare without getting rid of the insurance companies!" -- Deborah Burger, President, Calif. Nurse's Association.

Almost 1000 registered nurses from around the nation rallied at the State Capitol in support of State Senator Sheila Kuehl's SB 840, the California Universal Health Care Act. They were joined by Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who provided key testimony at an Informational Briefing on Health Care Reform chaired by Senator Kuehl, Chair of the Senate Health Committee.


"Blue Cross spends 30% of every premium dollar they collect on administrative overhead, while our government spends only 3% to administer Medicare.... How is it people have come to believe government doesn't work?!!!" Citing MediCare and Social Security as successful government programs, Moore described an underlying dilemma for health insurance companies: it is their legal, fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for shareholders. Profit is made by denying care to those who are sick, refusing membership to anyone with a pre-existing condition, and dropping members whose care becomes inconveniently expensive.

As co-sponsors of SB 840 listened from the dais, a packed gallery of RNs and others interested in health care reform applauded Moore's testimony. Less entertaining though equally moving testimony was delivered by Dr. Linda Peeno, who has testified before Congress on HMO denial of care, Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row in Los Angeles, who witnessed Southern California hospitals dumping discharged patients on Skid Row, and Dawnelle Keys, whose daughter died after she was refused care by a hospital that didn't honor her health insurance plan.



"Does anyone ask the Fire or Police departments to act based on their financial bottom line?" If your house is on fire, does the Fire Department ask what kind of insurance you have before putting out the fire?

Blue Cross plans to spend at least 2 million dollars to fight Single Payer, tarring it with scare tactic buzz words like "socialized medicine." How would single payer health care be philosophically and economically different from other government-run tax-payer funded social services such as the Police and Fire Departments?

  1000 red-shirted RNs (and some doctors) from around the U.S. braved Sacramento summer heat to rally in support of Universal healthcare. The event was sponsored by CNA and National Nurses Organizing Committee.

  "The U.S. is the only country in the western world that doesn't believe health care is a human right.. America is a generous country! Why don't we provide health care for everyone?


"Truth is the strongest disinfectant!" State Senator Sheila Kuehl, (D-Santa Monica) delivering the truth about SB 840. Kuehl, who for 5 years has authored a Universal Healthcare bill in the California Legislature, described the trajectory by which an idea at first deemed crazy becomes accepted wisdom. SB 840 has 42 co-authors and passed the Senate on June 6th, 2007. The growing support for Universal Healthcare in a state that has 6.5 million uninsured inpires hope that wisdom will prevail.

"This will be the first time in U.S. history that a Single Payer bill has made it to a Governor's desk!" Gov. Schwarzenegger has declared 2007 "The Year of Healthcare Reform." Will the Governor rise to the occasion and sign a healthcare bill that gives Californians the same right to healthcare he received as a birthright in his native Austria?

Note: Senator Kuehl was the first woman to be named Speaker pro Tempore in the California Assembly, is the Chair of the Senate Health Committee, and has been often voted "The smartest member of the California Legislature" by the California Journal.




Following the legislative hearing and the rally at the Capitol, Michael Moore joined CNA President Deborah Burger, CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro (not shown) and a throng of RNs and other healthcare reformers in a march to the Crest Theater for a showing of Moore's film "Sicko."


Throughout the day, both in the legislative hearing and at the rally outside, speakers made reference to former national beliefs that were ultimately overturned in favor of better ideas. One speaker reminded us that during the civil rights movement, some leaders cautioned against moving too fast because "the country isn't ready for it." At one point during the hearing, Michael Moore stopped to observe that the Legislative Health Committee is composed primarily of women, something that could not have happened 20 years ago. Do we have to wait for insurance companies to be ready for Single Payer Health Care? Do we have to wait until women run everything before we get Universal Healthcare?

As Senator Kuehl told us at one point: "History moves forward by leaping and creeping, and though there's a lot more creeping than leaping, it's the quality of the creeping that makes the leaping possible."

And as Michael Moore reminded us "Democracy is not a spectator sport."

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