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The California Nurses Association and National Nurses United organized a statewide day of action on Jan. 8 in support of single-payer healthcare legislation, Assembly Bill 1400. They were joined in San Diego by dozens of nurses, community members and organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America San Diego, Activist San Diego, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the San Diego Peace and Freedom Party.
A.B. 1400, also known as the California Guaranteed Healthcare for All Act (CalCare), gained momentum in part due to frequent caravans and other mobilizations organized by the CNA and NNU. In order to move forward, CalCare must pass the Assembly Health Committee, the Appropriations Committee and the full California State Assembly by Jan. 31. If the bill does not pass the Assembly Health Committee by Jan. 14 or the Appropriations Committee by Jan. 21 it fails, too.
CalCare supporters gathered in the San Diego Zoo parking lot on Jan. 8. Following a brief press conference, Liberation News spoke with Rachelle Compton, a nurse whose mother died due to a lack of health coverage. She said, “Healthcare shouldn’t be for profit. As a nurse I’ve seen people lose their lives because they didn’t have insurance.”
Participants drove from the zoo to the office of state assembly members Akilah Weber and Lorena Gonzales, finishing at Balboa Park. The caravan was met with cheers and other forms of support from passersby throughout Downtown San Diego and surrounding neighborhoods.
In a press statement, Cathy Kennedy, registered nurse and president of the CNA said, “This for-profit health care system has cost lives, all so that a few health insurance executives can line their pockets. This newest COVID-19 surge further shows how broken our current system is. California has an opportunity to make history and finally say that health care is a human right.”
Millions of people in the U.S., including 13% of U.S. adults, were uninsured at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. If California were to enact a single-payer universal healthcare system it would mark a historic victory in the struggle to guarantee quality healthcare access for all working class and oppressed people.