Private insurance corporations spread lies about the “high costs” of single-payer to the tax payer to block meaningful healthcare reform. They have been successful only because of their influence over corporate media outlets and their ability to spread lies about how it would be financed. The end result is the maintenance of a system where $220-280 billion in public funds are diverted into a massive multi-payer bureaucracy geared towards maximizing corporate profits rather than patient care.
The Asian American community is experiencing an upsurge in hate crimes due to scapegoating of Chinese people as being the cause of the pandemic. Racist violence is not a new thing for Asian Americans as discrimination has been a historical condition – not just on the streets, but through systemic racism, including disparities in healthcare.
In 2018, 25 percent of Korean Americans and 20 percent of Vietnamese Americans had no health coverage. The Affordable Care Act helped alleviate those numbers, but no updates have been conducted after millions lost their jobs and insurance during the pandemic. Asian American data research is lacking and facts, such as 69% of the Thai American community being uninsured, are not well known.
In 2019, the leading cause of death among Asian Americans aged 15-24 was suicide. To this day, suicide is still among the top causes of death for young Asian Americans. In the U.S., this is true for no other racial group in the same age range. The mental healthcare system is inadequate and inaccessible to many.
Last year, over 80 Japanese American seniors in a Los Angeles intermediate care facility were evicted from their home because the corporate owner wanted to convert it to market-rate apartments. Even against the pleas of 10 licensed physicians, the CA government did not keep them safe during the pandemic. No other intermediate care facilities in the U.S. have the same level of Japanese-speaking staff and culturally-appropriate services.
Assembly Bill 1400 would provide groups facing healthcare disparities the help they need. The bill would create a single payer healthcare system that would cover all Californians regardless of citizenship, age, income, or employment status.
Under AB 1400, young people can access mental health services and elders can receive bilingual and bi-cultural healthcare. Non-English speaking people can have difficulty explaining their problems to medical staff, especially if they’re under duress. Doctors and nurses who only know a Western viewpoint, may not know how to communicate with patients of different cultures.
Hate crime victims and their families will no longer need to launch GoFundMe pages to pay for medical treatment due to lack of health coverage.
California has 85 percent of Democratic voters who support a single payer system and 61 percent of voters of various political views support it. The public support for AB1400 is there because the need exists. Our current governor was elected partially because he pledged to support single-payer reform. To have 3.2 million Californians without healthcare insurance in our wealthy state is a travesty.
AB1400 will be the safety net for our most vulnerable communities who are suffering in silence due to healthcare racism and inequality. This is why members of the Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA) back this bill and urge you to vote “Aye” for AB 1400, which will save many lives.
The current private-insurer-controlled healthcare system is one of capital extraction.
The rising premiums and deductibles we pay finance political corruption to the demise of patient care.
This is why it has been a challenge to win healthcare-for-all even in a Democratic Party Supermajority state like California and why we must build increased grassroots power.
Instead of public financing of exorbitant CEO salaries, AB 1400 would help redirect this capital into local economy health infrastructure development and direct our monies towards patient-centric healthcare services, including multilingual and culturally-appropriate care in our communities.
In addition, (nationally) the current system drains $228-280 BILLION into wasteful, bureaucratic administrative costs to take away healthcare decisions from doctors, putting this power into the hands of private insurers. The multi-payer system is overly complex and wasteful by design. It needs a complete overhaul if we are to win the healthcare that other modern countries provide with single-payer systems.
Today, patient care in the United States is one of capital extraction, not one that is centered on the well-being and health of people. It views disease and illness as a source of profits and for the most part, it opposes preventative care. Pharmaceutical unregulated price-gouging that also contributes to great financial stress for working-class families, and contributes to medical debt remaining one of the top reasons for personal bankruptcy.
This is why Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA) supports the fight to win a single-payer, Medicare-for-All healthcare system and legislative reform such as AB 1400 in California. Of particular note, it is the first healthcare reform bill that acknowledges the need for linguistically and culturally appropriate healthcare. Until the loopholes that give control over the government to the private corporate interests are closed, we will continue to have millions in the U.S. face unnecessary suffering both in terms of poor health outcomes and financial stress.
Watch this video to learn more about AB 1400 from Carmen Comsti of the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United. She is the writer of AB 1400 and serves as a commissioner on CA Governor Newsom’s Healthcare Commission:
Please send a letter to your CA Assemblymember to urge them to advance AB 1400, the CalCare Act, which would guarantee healthcare coverage for ALL Californians: https://bit.ly/calcareletter2asm