Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Letter to CA Democratic Leaders on death of single payer healthcare bill

I was deeply disturbed to see how the Senate Democrats handled SB 810, which would have greatly benefited all Californians and likely been wildly popular and beneficial to election prospects of Democrats even further up the ticket and around the country.  
If this had been the first time the bill had made its way through the Senate, failing by 4-6 votes once it got to the floor would have been a respectable if disappointing outcome.  
This wasn't the first time it made it to the floor though.
As you know,nearly identical bills passed both chambers only to be vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, but with a Democrat as governor, there is a real chance that this could become law.  
If a handful of Democratic senators block this historic opportunity, it will make a lot of us wonder if you guys actually care about average people or only do bold legislation when you know you have a business owned governor who can be depended on to veto it.  
It was also hard not to notice the five and six figure donations from the insurance industry to the handful of Democratic senators who killed the bill by abstaining or voting no along with Republicans.
I can't trust a party that can be bought like that. 
The failure of this vote also undermines our trust in even the reputation of those who voted for it and the Democratic leadership. 
Legislative bodies have a clever trick they do when they need something to pass, but it would hurt some rep with their constituents: they might ''release'' the reps who need to be released once they've rounded up enough other votes to pass it without them
That could also happen when they DON'T want legislation to pass, but want it to look like ''Gosh darn it, we sure TRIED,'' then they ''release'' the reps least likely to be harmed by voting against it (think Joe Lieberman and the US Senate).  
For our current form of government to endure, Democrats need to actually enact Democratic policies when you have the levers of power not simply slow the onslaught of the conservative dismantling of our middle class.  
If you guys can't put some version of SB 810 on Jerry Brown's desk before he leaves office, Democratic voters will be hard put to think of a reason to remember to vote on election day, let alone cast a vote for Democrats.  

You need to post an explanation on your webpage about why this failed, what will be done to discipline those Democrats who refused to vote yes, how soon you will get this on the agenda again, and what you will do differently to actually get it signed by the governor. 
As I was digging around for their contact information, it was striking that SB 810 wasn't mentioned on the homepages of the Democratic Caucus, Speaker, or President Pro Tem, but lots of lesser issues were. 

Add your voice too: 

Democratic Caucus 

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg 
http://sd06.senate.ca.gov/contact (online email contact) 
http://sd06.senate.ca.gov/ (address, phone, and fax at bottom of her homepage) 

Senate Majority Leader Ellen M. Corbett 
http://sd10.senate.ca.gov/contact (online email contact) 
http://sd10.senate.ca.gov/ (address, phone, and fax at bottom of her homepage) 

California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton 
1401 21st Street, Suite 200 
Sacramento, CA 95811 
(916) 442-5707 phone 
(916) 442-5715 fax 

As others have noted, the system may be too broken for these guys to be responsive anymore, but we have to let them know this is unacceptable so they can't plead ignorance of our disapproval and be telling the truth.

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