Nevada County single-payer advocates hold hope despite stalled bill | SierraSun.com

Nevada County single-payer advocates hold hope despite stalled bill

Matthew Pera
mpera@theunion.com

Nevada County single-payer advocates travel to Sacramento for a SB 562 rally in May.

Nevada County residents supporting Senate Bill 562, California's legislative effort to introduce a single-payer health-care system to the state, say they will demonstrate outside Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon's office in Sacramento on Wednesday, June 28.

Rendon announced late Friday, June 23, that SB 562, the Healthy California Act, would not be heard by the Assembly's health and appropriations committees, effectively putting the bill on hold for this year.

"SB 562 was sent to the Assembly woefully incomplete," Rendon said in a statement. "Even senators who voted for SB 562 noted there are potentially fatal flaws in the bill, including the fact it does not address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls or the realities of needed action by the Trump administration and voters to make SB 562 a genuine piece of legislation.

"In light of this, I have decided SB 562 will remain in the Assembly Rules Committee until further notice. Because this is the first year of a two-year session, this action does not mean SB 562 is dead. In fact, it leaves open the exact deep discussion and debate the senators who voted for SB 562 repeatedly said is needed."

Nevada County resident Pinky Zalkin, a proponent of SB 562, said she disagrees with Rendon's decision.

"Our bill, as it stands right now, is very comprehensive," Zalkin said.

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She said that putting the bill on hold for a year would result in a major loss of momentum.

Mindy Oberne, chair of Nevada County's chapter of Health Care for All California, said Rendon's statement was "unethical and dishonest."

"He well knows that the financial study is out and it will be attached to the bill," said Oberne, referring to a study done by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "He knows that report and could've looked at it at any time. He's just being dishonest and disingenuous. So one person says 'kibosh.' What kind of democracy is this?"

Proponents of the bill say there's still hope.

"We know everyone has been mobilizing the grassroots and Speaker Rendon has been feeling major pressure to reverse his decision to hold SB 562 from moving forward," Pilar Schiavo, director of the Healthy California Campaign, said in a statement. "He can still reverse his decision and instruct the Rules Committee to move the bill forward this week at their Thursday (June 29) meeting."

Nevada County residents planning to demonstrate against Rendon's decision are meeting at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning, June 28, at the Kmart parking lot at 111 McKnight Way, Grass Valley, where they will board a bus down to Sacramento, Zalkin said.