President Barack Obama stated that “in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one should go broke just because they get sick.” Unfortunately, people do go broke. In the United States, two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall. Compounded with health disparities that disproportionally affect women and children of color, we have an unsustainable and inhumane health care system.
Irrespective of political party affiliation, there are strong arguments in favor of transforming the delivery and cost of healthcare in this country. Single Payer offers solutions to a complex system that can be accomplished by implementing AB 1400. Introduced by labor ally Ash Kalra, this compassionate commonsense legislation will positively impact working families in California.
AB 1400 allows California to invest in prevention, which will save lives and lower health care costs. We know that affordable, easy access to care has a positive effect on the health of workers by reducing chronic conditions and increasing life expectancy. Single Payer also expands coverage to all Californians, regardless of citizenship status. This will ensure that all workers in our state have access to affordable health care.
The high cost of healthcare has helped to create a climate of concessionary bargaining, triggering attacks on public sector employees, and shifting more of the costs to working people. Single Payer diminishes the liability for retiree healthcare costs and reduces the cost of coverage for all workers and their families. When we unencumber our communities from the high cost of health care, we create additional capacity for programs and services that support working families.
The Labor Movement is uniting around Single Payer because it offers tangible solutions to a seemly intractable problem. Through the leadership of CNA and ally unions, we have a path that will make healthcare a birthright for everyone in California. AB 1400 is good for workers, and we must organize to ensure its passage.
South Bay Labor Council