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Calif. Nurses to Gather for First Major Hearing on Bill to Establish Guaranteed Healthcare for All Californians

California One of Eight States Considering Similar Bills

OAKLAND, Calif., April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee will join the first major hearing this year, in the Senate Health Committee tomorrow, on a bill that would guarantee comprehensive, quality, cost-effective healthcare for all Californians.

Senate Bill 810 is the California version of a single payer, Medicare-for-all style bill, one of several single payer bills now before state legislatures across the U.S. The California bill was introduced by Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco. It is modeled on an earlier bill, SB 840, authored by now-retired Sen. Sheila Kuehl, which passed the California Legislature twice but was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.

    WHAT:      Senate Health Committee Hearing on SB 810
    WHEN:      Wednesday, April 15, 1:30 p.m.
    WHERE:     State Capitol, Room 4203, Sacramento

Single-payer bills are also on the agenda in Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Washington state, in addition to bills in Congress. The Colorado bill, by Fort Collins Democrat John Kefalas, passed a key state House vote last week. The Maine bill was reviewed in a committee hearing Monday. The Illinois bill has 37 co-sponsors.

"From coast to coast, nurses, doctors, patients, healthcare activists, and now legislators are pressing for genuine reform that will end our national healthcare nightmare," said CNA co-president Malinda Markowitz, RN, who will testify at Wednesday's hearing.

In California, the crisis grows more acute by the day. Some 500,000 Californians have lost health coverage since the onset of the recession, according to a UC Berkeley report. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that scores of patients are skipping critical mammography screenings, dental visits, care for chronic health conditions, and other preventive needs because of the unchecked costs of insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs.

"SB 810 is the only healthcare reform in California that protects choice, reins in skyrocketing costs that are mostly related to insurance company practices, and puts care decisions in the hands of patients, families, doctors and nurses, not insurance companies," Markowitz said.

CNA/NNOC is the nation and state's largest RN union and professional association representing 86,000 RNs.

SOURCE National Nurses Organizing Committee/California Nurses Association
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