California Nurses Association Celebrates Milestone Towards Guaranteed Health Care in the State

AB 1400, CalCare bill, moves to Plenary for a vote

The California Nurses Association (CNA) today celebrated significant progress toward guaranteed health care in California as AB 1400, the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act (known as CalCare) that would establish a health system single-payer to the state, walked out of the appropriations committee today and heads to the Plenary for a vote.

“This is an exciting milestone for CalCare,” said Cathy Kennedy, RN and CNA president. “We nurses have been organizing for more than 30 years to achieve guaranteed health care for all residents of the state because we know it is the only way for our patients to get the care they need. need, regardless of the size of their bank accounts. Now, with the Covid pandemic, the urgency to establish CalCare is greater than ever, and we are pleased that our grassroots movement to hold our legislators accountable to the people they represent, not the insurance companies , works!”

CNA nurses are leading a grassroots movement of health care, community and statewide labor activists who have diligently built support and political power to push the bill through CalCare. Volunteers across the state have worked with CNA to:

  • Send more than 3 million text messages to California voters about CalCare in our 33 Assembly districts represented by key legislators
  • Make 44,000 calls to CalCare supporters statewide
  • Send 12,000 handwritten postcards to voters in key districts
  • Send 300,000 text messages to monolingual Spanish speakers about CalCare
  • Lead virtual legislative tours with dozens of assembly members
  • Pass city council resolutions in favor of AB 1400 in at least 25 cities

Most recently, CalCare activists staged a big day of action on January 8 ahead of those legislative votes, staging 15 car caravans across the state and a huge car rally and car caravan at the Sacramento Capitol. which culminated in two projections on buildings near the Capitol, urging members of the assembly to pass AB 1400.

Kennedy pointed out that only cohesive organizing by nurses and other activists moved lawmakers to move AB 1400 this far. CNA nurses have been proposing a CalCare-like system for the state since the 1990s and worked to push through a state election initiative and even successfully won single-payer legislation twice for having then the government. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bills.

The corporate insurance industry, which wastes almost a third of every health care dollar on exorbitant CEO salaries, marketing, billing, advertising and an army of employees to refuse and delay claims, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying against the state’s single payer.

“We’re so close and we all need CalCare so badly,” Kennedy said. “Now is the time for all of us to push our congregants to do the right thing and pass AB 1400.”

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the nation’s largest and fastest growing union and professional association for registered nurses, with 100,000 members at more than 200 facilities across California and more than 175,000 AI nationwide.

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