Chanting "Medicare for all is our fight, health care is a human right," nurses and health care activists rallied in Sacramento Wednesday to support a new bill that would create universal health coverage for Californians.
State Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) introduced Senate Bill 562 last week. The bill would cover all residents of the state, even those who are undocumented. The bill does not include a timeline or specifics, but it does mention the intent to "enact legislation that would establish a comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage program." This would mean that the state government, not insurance companies, would pay for care. Such systems are also known as "single payer," with Medicare being the best-known example.
Lara spoke at the rally, greeting the crowd of roughly 400, many of them nurses mobilized by their union, the California Nurses Association. "We’re going to finally put doctors, nurses, and clinicians actually in charge of the care, and not insurance companies," he said.
California legislators have twice submitted bills for universal health care that went all the way to the desk of then-governor Arnold Schwarzennegger. He vetoed both.