Healthcare workers continue fight for health care for all

By Annette Quijada

Healthcare workers came together for the event, “Healthcare is a Human Right,” to promote AB-1400 and the steps needed to be able to give healthcare to all.
The California Guaranteed Health Care Act for All Act also known as the AB-1400 bill would create a single payer health care coverage system in California.
The system would be called “Cal Care” and is designed to cover the cost of all medical care and would be available to all California residents. It’s the seventh attempt at trying to get universal healthcare in California.
Paul Song, oncologist and president of the California Chapter of Physicians for the National Health Program, said he started to get involved when he realized that the health care system was suboptimal after watching the hardships his cancer patients were dealing with.
“Too many of my own patients were going bankrupt, they were spending far too much of their own money. Many of them skipped their needed drugs because of the high cost,” Song said.
The number of people who end up using all or most of their savings is up to 63%, Song said. Patients end up sacrificing essentials in order to have money to pay for their medication or treatment.
“The number of people who are having financial hardship or ruin is roughly up to 19% of the population and it disproportionately affects communities of color,” Song said.
Song also cites a study where it was determined that about 40% of the United States COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented if more people had access to insurance.
“In the United States it’s alarming that among the Native American population, our black and Hispanic communities the rates of potential lives lost is staggering.”
These statistics brought in Maureen Cruise, who’s an registered nurse and the Los Angeles Co-Director of Healthcare for All, said “The United States, has an unequal discriminatory caste system that treats some lives more available than others. This is a moral issue, we have a system of penthouse care for some and bargain basement care for others ‘and for the very unlucky’ no care at all.”
Cruise believes that CalCare is the solution to the current healthcare system. Cruise said that CalCare would give universal coverage regardless of race, sex, gender, country of origin, and immigration status.
“We will burn all medical debt,” Cruise said.
AB-1400 currently resides in the rules committee in the Assembly. It’s temporarily frozen and is waiting until January 2022 to reopen and be moved along.
For those interested in taking part in the action can check the following link for resources and ways to be involved.

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