U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’s decision to co-sponsor a Medical-for-all health care bill, along with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, is great news for the country but even better news for her home state.
Harris, California’s junior Senator, announced the decision on Twitter with this tweet after she told a crowd in Oakland the news:
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) August 31, 2017
While it may prove difficult to get a single-payer system approved through the Republican-led Congress and signed into law by the GOP’s liar-in-chief—at least for now—the California Senate has already passed Senate Bill 562, which would create a universal health care program here. That bill was shelved in June by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Yet Rendon has now created a Select Committee to study universal coverage and the executive board of the California Democratic Party recently voted unanimously to support the bill, according to Healthy California, the grassroots organization leading the fight for single-payer coverage.
Harris’s support for a single payer will be crucial, and her tone, “It’s just the right thing to do,” epitomizes the central tenet of single-payer, which is to provide health care to everyone because it’s a human right. She has also been called “a rising star in the Democratic Party” too many times to count, and thus she has a wide audience here and across the country.
I discussed the details of SB 562 in an earlier post. The question, of course, is how to fund such a system, which can be done through a progressive taxation system and ending the dominant role of for-profit health insurance companies.
The United States is the only industrial, larger developed country in the world without some form of guaranteed health care for everyone. Our present system, even with the improvements made by the Affordable Care Act, is simply not sustainable. Our country’s miserable infant mortality rate is a disgrace and immoral.
Most Congressional Republicans, along with Donald Trump, want to deny millions of people health care to give tax breaks to wealthy people. So far they have been unsuccessful, but maybe, just maybe, they have ignited more people into accepting the reality that a Medicare-for-all system is what the country needs.
Harris’s support for universal coverage shows, again, how California can and should lead the way on this issue.