Activists call Speaker Rendon's decision
Health care activists hold signs in support of SB562 on June 21 in
San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Led by National Nurses United, progressives in California have been
pushing SB562, a bill that would create a
single-payer Medicare for all health care system in the state. On
June 23, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon shut down the bill despite
Democrats holding the State House, Senate and governorship, providing the
Democrats to easily pass the bill. The Los Angeles Times
reported, "Rendon announced late Friday afternoon that the bill,
Senate Bill 562 by state Sens. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni
Atkins (D-San Diego), would not advance to a policy hearing in his house,
making it all but certain the measure will not be acted upon this
Rendon, in a brief statement, called the bill "wholly
incomplete." Hours before, according to a statement from
CNA/National Nurses United co-President Deborah Burger, the California
Nurses Association "submitted an additional set of proposed
amendments in advance of the first Assembly hearing to begin the
'completion' of the bill Speaker Rendon had said was missing, a clear
sign that his decision was not only unconscionable but also disingenuous
in even the reasons he cited for freezing the bill."
However, given his ties to the health insurance and pharmaceutical
industries, it's not surprising that Speaker Rendon shut down the bill.
In an election
swung by fraudulent votes, his senior adviser,
Eric Bauman, was recently elected by party insiders to chair the
California Democratic Party Chair. Bauman received
over $100,000 in 2016 lobbying for the pharmaceutical industry
against Prop 61, which would have capped prescription drug prices in
In 2015, the Sacramento Bee reported that Rendon
received over $36,000 from drug makers. In April 2017, IBTimes
reported that House Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate President Kevin De
Leon and Gov. Jerry Brown -- all Democrats -- have received a
$370,000 from groups opposing single-payer health care legislation.
Since 2010, these lawmakers have received
$3.4 million in campaign donations from the health insurance
industry. While California voters and progressive groups demand
single-payer health care in the state, the
Democratic establishment in California has been bought and paid for
by the pharmaceutical and health care industries to prevent it from
becoming a reality.
"At a time when the United States is the only major country on earth
not to guarantee health care for all, and when tens of millions of
Americans are uninsured or underinsured because of outrageously high
costs, California has the opportunity to lead this nation in a very
different health care direction," Sen. Bernie Sanders
in response to Speaker Rendon's decision to pull the plug on the bill.
"If the great state of California has the courage to take on the
greed of the insurance companies and the drug companies, the rest of the
country will follow."
five people in California die due to lack of health insurance.
polls have shown that a majority of Americans support a Medicare for
all health care system. That this bill was pulled -- despite being
passed by the State Senate -- signals the extent
corruption within the
Democratic Party. In order to become a party that fights for the
policies they market themselves with, the Democratic Party must purge
itself of leaders that prioritize the interests of
donors over voters.