Matching Grant Challenge
BruceMatch
We’re slowly making headway in our annual fund drive, but not nearly fast enough to meet our make-or-break goal.  On the bright side, a generous CounterPuncher has stepped forward with a pledge to match every donation of $100 or more. Any of you out there thinking of donating $50 should know that if you donate a further $50, CounterPunch will receive an additional $100. And if you plan to send us $200 or $500 or more, he will give CounterPunch a matching $200 or $500 or more. Don’t miss the chance. Double your clout right now. Please donate.
 unnamed

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)

pp1

or
cp-store

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Going Critical California's Raging Health Care Crisis

California’s Raging Health Care Crisis

by SETH SANDRONSKY

Big California papers such as the San Jose Mercury News and The Sacramento Bee are urging the state Senate Health Committee to pass the Núñez-Perata health-care reform bill, ABX1-1. Gov. Schwarzenegger backs the speaker and senate leader’s bill, which the state Assembly passed in late Nov.

The 11 members of the Senate Health Committee, which Democratic Sen. Sheila Kuehl of LA chairs, held a hearing on ABX1-1 Jan. 23. The speaker, legislative analyst and governor’s health secretary were three of those who commented on the bill.

The committee votes on the bill Jan. 28. A yes vote would pave the way for Californians to decide the bill’s financing mechanism in the Nov. election.

But the word is that ABX1-1 lacks the votes. If in fact the bill fails in Kuehl’s committee, Núñez has two options. He can return with amendments and request a reconsideration of the vote. Or he can request a new vote on the health-care reform bill with no amendments, according to Carol Wallisch, Sen. Kuehl’s chief of staff.

A Jan. 25 unsigned Sacramento Bee editorial blamed Big Tobacco and the California Nurses Association for the possible sacking of ABX1-1. Under ABX1-1, the former would see its tax bill hiked. That would likely cut cigarette sales. What horror!

The CNA wants to boot private insurers from the health-care system. Consider this. ABX1-1 limits insurers to spending no more than 15 cents of every premium dollar on administrative costs. Such costs were 28 percent of California’s projected health expenditures in 2003, reported Drs. David Himmelstein, Steffie Woolhandler and Sidney Wolfe in the International Journal of Health Services.

Meanwhile, Kuehl’s SB 840 for a system of single-payer health care instead of the current system of multiple insurers is waiting to be heard in the Assembly appropriations committee. That process will begin this summer.

Meanwhile, grass-roots support is building for a California constitutional ballot initiative in which voters can decide the fate of a single-payer health care measure this Nov. The California Health Security Plan is a single-payer system to provide every California resident with medical care: "no co-pays, no deductibles, and no premiums."

And the Plan does specify a funding source: the state’s general fund and other sources like the federal treasury. To qualify the measure for the ballot, backers need 700,000 valid voter signatures. Visit www.CaliforniansforHealthSecurity.org for more information.

SETH SANDRONSKY lives and writes in Sacramento. He can be reached at: ssandronsky@yahoo.com