Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Health Care for All Comes to Costa Mesa

"We expect our government to use our tax dollars to provide us with national security, and I contend that insuring us from illness and injury should be considered national security. Just compare the 3,000 Americans we lost on that dark day, September 11, 2001, with the 18,000 Americans who die every year due to denial of medical care. Private corporations, whose number one responsibility is to turn a profit for their shareholders, have proven themselves spectacularly unsuited for insuring our health, and every other civilized nation has come to the conclusion that health insurance is the proper function of government."

That was Vern Nelson, local health care activist, giving an amazingly eloquent speech to the Costa Mesa City Council on why they should support SB 840, California's plan for real universal health care. So what else happened at the city council meeting? Well, follow me down below for more...

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

Vern and his "posse" of people who care about health care access for arrived early for the city council meeting, and they were among the first ones to speak during the "public comments" segment, before the city council began to deliberate on the scheduled agenda. First up was Joe Tyndall, a computer tech writer from Costa Mesa who was concerned about the quality of health care in his own city. And in addition to his speech, he also provided all five council members with information packets on health care and why SB 840 is the only real solution for California.

"Americans pay more than $7,000 per person per year for health care, more than any other nation. Yet, we stand 37th in the quality of health care as measured across a wide range of indices. The cost of health care spirals out of control, while the number of Americans without health insurance continues to grow. Every other industrialized nation has a single-payer, Medicare-like system that leaves no person uninsured and costs roughly half as much per capita as our profit-driven, employer-based insurance system."

Wait, isn't Governor Schwarzenegger proposing "health care reform"? Dr. Richard Lara then explained to the council why Arnold's "reform" doesn't really change anything for the better.

"You, as a city, and we, as citizens, would save money if the health care crisis were solved. I suggest that you ask the Governor NOT to veto the solution if it comes to him again. He evidently feels guilty about that veto, for he is making a great show of interest in health care. He has admitted that there IS a crisis. He has proposed ten pages of band-aids. His scheme is like solving a transportation crisis by making us own a car. If you can't afford it, the state will help you out, using tax dollars. The auto makers would love that plan. And the army of bureaucrats who will determine just how much help you need. This, from the man who wanted to shrink government!"

Wow, no wonder why no one likes his "health care reform" plan. But if Arnold-Care doesn't solve anything, what does? If Arnold can't solve our health care crisis, then what can?

Allan Beek, an Orange County resident who cares about real health care solutions, gave us the real solution: SB 840.

"SB 840 saves money- about $8 billion a year, according to the best estimate. [...]
Medicines are bought at bulk prices... About 40% cheaper than what we pay here. (But the manufacturers won't mind- they get 10 million new customers.) [...]
Emergency rooms will be for emergencies only. Nearby hospitals will share, rather than duplicate, expensive equipment. One simple system of payment will replace 15,000 different insurance plans. Senate Bill 840 will cut administrative overhead from today's 30% to at MOST 5%. We can all have preventive care and stay as healthy as nature permits. Preventing disease is cheaper than curing it. With all these savings, we can give a top-notch package of benefits to EVERYONE, still spending almost as much money total, so there will still be as may jobs. We don't cause unemployment, but the jobs will be providing health care."

After the presentation, Costa Mesa City Council Member Katrina Foley was quite impressed with this presentation. She actually asked the city's legislative director to put together an analysis of all the current health care proposals in California- including SB 840. Fortunately, there are folks in Costa Mesa who see that city residents need a real solution for their health care problems.

And I guess this proves how SB 840 truly is the best choice for universal health care in California. OK, so all these great speeches still aren't convincing you? Well, then go analyze SB 840 for yourself at Health Care for All. Here, you can see personal stories of struggle under the current privatized health care industry. And yes, you can find more reasons why we need REAL health care reform soon, and why SB 840 is the best course of action for that.

Don't we owe it to our fellow Californians to provide them with health care security, once and for all?

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