McKinleyville Press
Published May 18, 2011

Dear Editor,

The Arcata City Council, at its Wednesday May 18th meeting, will consider a resolution supporting single payer health care in California. The meeting starts at 6 pm at Arcata City Hall, 7th and F Streets.

I’m a member of the Humboldt branch of Health Care for All California. We believe health care is a right. Lack of access to health care and inequality in health care are brutal and unaccceptable.

Based on a 2007 survey, more than 16,000 Humboldt County residents (12.4%) are uninsured. That number has undoubtedly gone up in the last four years. Many more are underinsured. As premiums, copays, and deductibles soar, (while coverage shrinks) more and more individuals and businesses are priced out of the market.

The recent federal legislation will leave 3 million uninsured in California and does nothing to control ruinous, escalating health care costs.

It is entirely within our reach to provide full-coverage, universal health care just as all the other industrialized nations do. We can do it without spending any new money.

Senate Bill 810, proposed by Mark Leno, puts all Californians into one big insurance pool—the healthy, the wealthy, the elderly, the poor, and the sick. Everybody’s in and nobody’s out. Money now drained out of the system by for-profit insurance companies for stockholder profits, excessive salaries, and marketing (as much as 33% of the money they collect) will be redirected to provide medical, mental, dental, vision, and pharmaceutical care for everyone in the state. Bulk purchasing power will reduce the cost of drugs and durable medical equipment by at least 40%. Our medical system would be redirected toward primary care and prevention.

From every perspective—moral as well as economic—single payer health care (Medicare for all) is the best solution to our broken system.

We’d like Arcata to join organizations such as the California Nurses Association, the League of Women Voters, the California Council of Churches, the California Teachers Association, and cities such as Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Oakland, Richmond, San Pablo, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica in supporting SB 810.

Please show up to support this vital resolution.

Sincerely, Margy Emerson