What’s happening in California is the best argument to dump the Democrats.
And start anew.
It’s the only option.
The state legislature in California has twice passed the California single payer bill.
And twice, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed it.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed it for a third time.
And the Assembly was about to pass it for a third time.
But the Democratic Speaker of the Assembly pulled the bill at the last minute.
Because it’s an election year.
Jerry Brown, who’s in a dead heat race for Governor, doesn’t want to face the music.
And the California Nurses Association, which supports Brown for Governor, has told single payer activists — back off.
Don’t pressure Brown to make a public statement on single payer.
If the Democrats would have passed single payer for a third time, the Terminator would have vetoed single payer for a third time.
This is exactly what single payer activists want.
Keep the pressure on.
But the Dems — and their union backers — want to play hide and seek.
“The Democrats should have put it up for a vote in the Assembly,” said Don Bechler of Single Payer Now. “California has been the wind in the
sails of the single payer movement. Each time the legislature passes it, we get stronger. We have more people in our movement than ever before. Passing it for a third time would have built the momentum.”
“The California legislature has twice before said that they are for having a universal health care system minus the insurance companies,” Bechler says. “We can be proud of winning that little battle.”
Brown was overheard earlier this year telling someone that if he is elected Governor, he will sign the single payer bill into law.
But he refuses to lead on the issue.
“Brown is saying — if everybody else is for it, I’ll be for it,” Bechler says. “But if you are a leader, you have to lead the troops, not follow.”
“Brown’s strategy so far in this campaign has been to say nothing about the issues, to run with duct tape over his mouth,” Bechler says.
Bechler is not convinced that with this follower strategy, Brown can win the Governorship.
Nor is Bechler convinced that even if he becomes Governor, Brown will sign the single payer bill into law.
Even if he does sign it, it’s only the beginning of the fight for single payer in California.
Bechler says the minute Brown signs it, the insurance industry will begin gathering signatures for an initiative to overturn it.
“And they’ll spend more to get it passed than Barack Obama spent to become President,” Bechler says.
And even if the single payer forces win that initiative fight, the legislature will have to fund the single payer law — with a two-thirds vote of both houses.
Right now, single payer forces have about 25 out of 40 Senators (62 percent) and about 45 out of 80 members of the Assembly (56 percent).
So, it’s an uphill battle.
Especially with Democrats playing duck and cover.
RUSSELL MOKHIBER is editor of Single Payer Action.