California OneCare Campaign
Reveals Massive Netroots, Grassroots Campaign

By a vote of 22 to 14, the California Senate today passed historic reform legislation, SB 810, that calls for sweeping changes in the financing of health care.

Under the bill, authored by Senator Mark Leno (SF), all residents would be covered by a true universal health care system, which would pay for all needed health services utilizing a “single payer” insurance system. Most residents would be required to pay into the system and all would be covered, with no additional co-pays, deductibles or exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Comprehensive reform. Under SB 810, private insurance companies would be replaced by one non-profit health insurance fund. All services, including prescription medications and equipment would be paid by the single fund – hence the term “single payer.”  All California residents will be covered with comprehensive, universal coverage for all necessary health care including doctors, hospital, medications, mental health, medical equipment, dental, eye care and more. Under the SB 810 legislation, hospitals and doctors would continue to operate privately, while insurance would be financed publicly.

SB 810 is expected to be revenue neutral to the state and cost most businesses and residents less for the most comprehensive health care reform plan ever offered Americans.

A strategic Plan to WIN. Sponsors of the bill applauded the Senators who supported this victory and outlined coalition plans for a massive multimedia grassroots educational campaign to pass the bill through the Assembly later this year.

One key component of the campaign will be an historic multimedia advertising campaign that will feature a new 30-second TV spot every day for a year starring celebrities, political leaders, health care activists and victims. Some 60 spots have already been produced, featuring Lily Tomlin, Paula Poundstone, Elliot Gould, Ed Begley, Valerie Harper, Connie Stevens, Tracy Newman, Ken Howard, Ed Asner, Sheila Kuehl and more. Supporters will be invited to submit their own versions.

Massive Grassroots Education. Kicking off on March 1, the 365-day ad and grass roots organizing campaign will gain momentum during the most tumultuous political period in decades, including a key state primary and the November election for Governor, Senate and Assembly seats. The goal of the campaign is to achieve passage and approval of the legislation by a two-thirds super majority of legislators in order to pass the financing legislation to implement SB 810. Similar single payer bills were passed twice by a 62% majority of the California legislature only to be vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Californians will be invited to get active on line or join neighborhood events to educate others about the benefits of this major reform of our health care system. Leaders expect that California’s success with a single payer system will lead other states to adopt it as well.

California OneCare and the 365 Ad Campaign are a project of Health Care for All-California and supported by single payer advocacy groups nationwide.