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Calif. Nurses Laud Passage of Single-Payer, SB 840, Seen as National Model for Guaranteed Healthcare for All

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee today hailed the California Legislature's passage of a single-payer, expanded Medicare for all, style bill that would guarantee quality health care for all Californians -- and called it a model for the national healthcare reform debate that is sure to emerge in 2009.

SB 840, authored by State Senator Sheila Kuehl, passed its final legislative hurdle with a vote in the State Senate today and is headed to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who vetoed an earlier version of the bill two years ago.

"But a lot has changed since then, including the further implosion of our healthcare safety net, and the Governor's own professed support for universal healthcare," said CNA/NNOC co-president Malinda Markowitz, RN. Nurses will remind Schwarzenegger of that pledge, she said.

"Our healthcare crisis today has become a clear and present danger to the health, safety, and economic security of all Californians and all Americans. We need comprehensive reform that will genuinely fix this broken system and end this national nightmare, starting in California and then in Washington," said Markowitz. CNA/NNOC is the principal sponsor of the bill.

SB 840 establishes a state-administered system to provide comprehensive coverage to all Californians, delivered by our current mostly private network of physicians, hospitals, doctors' offices, and other providers. Coverage would no longer be tied to job status or health condition or subject to ever rising premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

In her statement today, Kuehl explained that SB 840 "takes the money we're already spending and uses it more efficiently to cover everyone. We're wasting a third of our health care dollars on bureaucracy because insurance companies makes the system too complicated, premiums are skyrocketing and thousands of Californians are dying every year because of preventable medical errors. If the Governor again fails to sign this bill, our health care system will just continue its slide toward becoming a second world health care system."

"Poll after poll shows an overwhelming public yearning for comprehensive healthcare reform with a government guarantee of healthcare for all," said Markowitz.

SB 840, and a similar bill in Congress, HR 676, are the only reforms, said Markowitz, that cure the two central components of the healthcare crisis -- insurance companies' denials of needed medical care, and the financial crisis faced by many families due to soaring medical bills.

SOURCE California Nurses Association
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