Note from Zoltan Zigedy: With his permission, I’m guest posting Charles Andrews comments on the recent betrayal of the California Single Payer health care bill. Mr. Andrews’ comments begin here:
The commentary excerpted below is fascinating. Russell Mokhiber draws the lesson that we must fight for single payer on our own, "dumping the Democrats." I agree.
But Mr. Mokhiber builds his case using analysis by Don Bechler. Unfortunately, Bechler’s analysis verges on childish. See my [Charles Andrews]Â remarks, in italics, after the excerpt.
Single Payer Later
By Russell Mokhiber
Single Payer Action, September 7, 2010
WhatÂs happening in California is the best argument to dump the Democrats.
And start anew.
ItÂs the only option.
The state legislature in California has twice passed the California single payer bill.
And twice, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed it.
Earlier this year, the Senate passed it for a third time.
And the Assembly was about to pass it for a third time.
But the Democratic Speaker of the Assembly pulled the bill at the last minute.
ÂThe Democrats should have put it up for a vote in the Assembly,Â said Don Bechler of Single Payer Now. ÂCalifornia has been the wind in the sails of the single payer movement. Each time the legislature passes it, we get stronger. We have more people in our movement than ever before. Passing it for a third time would have built the momentum.Â
ÂThe California legislature has twice before said that they are for having a universal health care system minus the insurance companies,Â Bechler says. ÂWe can be proud of winning that little battle.Â
Full item at http://www.singlepayeraction.org/blog/?p=2562
Bechler claims, "The California legislature has twice before said that they are for having a universal health care system minus the insurance companies." They said it, but it was an open secret that a good number of California legislators from progressive districts voted for the single payer bill knowing the governor would veto it. The vote was a credential on a legislator’s lapel, nothing more.
Bechler further claims, "Each time the legislature passes it, we get stronger. We have more people in our movement than ever before."
Don’s mailing list has grown. That’s great. But Bechler does not give evidence that the legislature’s staged votes were the cause. If I drink too much beer in the evening, I need to urinate around five in the morning. Sure enough, an hour later the sun rises. Gee, my urine makes the sun rise.
Every day more people experience the fact health care sold as a commodity is health care denied, health care sold at an extortionate price, health care done wrong. That experience – and as much agitation as we can do about it – is why more people than ever before believe health care must be provided as needed, as a program we all have equal rights to, guaranteed no matter what. Most of these people do not know about the Potemkin votes of the legislature in past years.
Reading the sum of Bechler’s comments as reported by Mokhiber, it almost sounds as though Bechler wants to throw out a lifeline to the California Democratic Party: You guys better do some damage control, or rank and file supporters of single payer are going to take Mokhiber’s advice: Dump the Democrats.
The California Democratic Party’s stab in the back of single payer has made many people reconsider the entire politics of winning such a big reform. It is important to draw lessons based on facts.
Can we ever get Equal Care for All? I discussed that problem on MRZine at
There is larger analysis of major reforms in my book No Rich, No Poor. http://www.amazon.com/NO-RICH-POOR-CHARLES-ANDREWS/dp/096799053X