But the costs of even these accomplishments were incredibly high.
The ugly spectacle of compromise and entrenched corruption in the full glare of 24-hr news cycles and fine-grained peer-to-peer scrutiny demoralized progressives while cynical deception and fearmongering whipped up the reactionary know-nothing right into a frenzy of enthusiasm opportunistically harvested by the agents of the richest of the rich.
All of this means that the next two years in Washington are likely to be profoundly nerve wracking, as the Republican House majority pushes the usual divisive white racist patriarchal prick culture war buttons while flooding the White House with witch-hunts and gossip-mongering investigations and struggles to stymie and undermine the accomplishments of the 111th "Do Something" Congress now behind us.
But while the national stage is likely to provoke rage and despair exacerbated to the point of delirium by the 2012 presidential campaign with which it will end (one may hope, for the better), the next two years may still provide grounds for substantial hope and progress in State Politics.
via California Health Care for All:
On August 31, 2010, Senate Bill 810 [Leno's bill introducing single-payer healthcare to California] was not brought up for a vote on the state Assembly floor and, therefore, died… [C]onservative Democrats… were scared that a vote for single payer [which would be vetoed as usual by Governor Schwarzenegger in any case, as he had done twice before already] would provide their Republican opponent a campaign issue that would lead to their defeat in the November elections. Thus, the Speaker of the Assembly heeded their election concerns and didn't bring the bill to a vote… Senator Leno immediately communicated to us that he will re-introduce the bill next session.
"Next session" is this session, next time is now, this time it's for real.
We now have a Democratic Governor, Jerry Brown, who won't veto passage of this bill once it passes the Assembly. Democrats hold majorities everywhere, and even our Yellow Dog Dems can be made to see sense often enough to push progress through the blockade of their timidity and privilege. Republicans failed to win a single statewide office in November.
The anti-governmental market fundamentalist fraud which swept California first and nearly destroyed California first has been exposed and utterly defeated here first as well. The passage and implementation of Single Payer Health Care is more practically possible here in California right now than in any other place in the country. The issues are better understood here than anywhere else, except possibly Vermont.
Support here is widespread both among voters and powerful organizations. The California Nurses Association, the Physicians Alliance, the Grey Panthers, the Consumer Federation of California, the California Teachers Association, the League of Women Voters, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Entertainment Strategy Group, and more and more are all affiliated, organized, and pushing this initiative.
The Health Insurance lobby will be howling with their Fox News deception points...
They will claim that somehow California's unprecedented budget crisis makes this a bad time rather than the best possible time to introduce a system proved to provide better care to all for less money...
They will claim that somehow California businesses will become uncompetitive when of course they are now competing at a profound disadvantage with businesses that benefit from the incomparably better-functioning less-costly single-payer healthcare systems available in other nations...
They will howl idiotically as usual about "socialism" and "Death Panels" and "loss of choice" as if the obscene salaries of useless insurance company executives and costly inane internecine Insurance Company promotional warfare of Flo versus the Gecko and the endless mountains of paperwork mediating the competing claims of all these middlemen somehow provide citizens with more choices, with lower costs, with more quality care...
They will genuflect to the woozy market magic spells and oligarchic rationalizations they learned from libertopian con artists like Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand...
But California voters and our representatives are all ready and willing and able at last to bag that shit sandwich for disposal.
The battle is sure to be loud and ugly but it is winnable here and now, not in the abstract, but with the force of will, and knowledge, and organization, and law behind it.
California is such a large state that the cost savings of Single-Payer can actually be palpable here, even without the rest of the country participating in the system.
The stakes of the upcoming battle cannot be overstated. As goes California, so goes the nation.
To defeat the for-profit insurance industry here in California is to knock over the decisive first domino.
The push from last year's historic Insurance reform happens here in California. My hope is that both California and Vermont can introduce Single Payer Health Care to the United States. And you can be sure that my hope is the well-founded fear of the remorseless and resourceful, deep pocketed shallow-hearted for-proft death merchants of the Insurance Industry.
The introduction of a limited public option or Medicare buy-in at the federal level, coupled with the introduction of Single Payer in state after state as the benefits of the system accrue here for all to see provides the roadmap that brings us in less time than you might think possible from the moral and fiscal catastrophe of a healthcare system defined by profits over people.
Get involved in the fight. You can make a difference.
If you are a California resident like I am, you can be in the front line in the most urgent struggle of our time. But this battle in California is one with national implications. Everybody can help out, every voice and every shoulder and every creative spark and every donation is needed.
Sign the Petition in Support of SB 810
Get Involved with California OneCare
Single Payer NOW Events