Last Saturday I attended a Health Care rally in Santa Ana, organized by the local chapter of Bernie’s inspired organization, Our Revolution. It was part of nationwide demonstrations to stop the repeal of Obamacare and to affirm the need to guarantee health care to all as a right.
While we were listening to the speakers, regular folks giving testimony of their personal experiences with ACA, a stocky person looking like one of the characters of the “Men in Black” movie, wearing dark glasses, was walking towards the crowd. He approached the organizers. His presence was announced as Congressman Lou Correa, and he was given the megaphone.
As he started to speak, I was wondering how Correa had decided to participate in this event, taking into account the rally’s main message, a Single Payer health care system. Had he finally come around to support an initiative he had opposed when he was in the California Assembly? I was hoping that he did, and I was waiting for him to say so.
The OJB had extensively covered the fight for that single payer bill that was within the reach of being enacted until Correa, and another Dem, voted against and killed it. This video, in a post from those years, describes the influence of the insurance industry and big money on the legislative process and political careers.
If his presence was kind of surreal, like in a fiction movie, also was his speech. He began referring to his roots in the barrio, to how remarkable is for a homie to end up being a member of a prestigious political institution, the United States House of Representatives. He then went on talking about the importance of voting, of not staying at home during elections, giving a stern lecture about not doing enough to elect Hillary. I don’t recall a word about Health Care.
I was not the only one thinking what the heck he was talking about. A young person standing next to me felt insulted, considering that Hillary had won in California anyway. When I mentioned Correa’s history opposing the previous single payer bill, this person concluded that Correa had wanted to change the focus of the rally and just blew hot air once he realized he had attended the wrong event.
A new bill for a Single Payer system in California has been presented by State Senator Ricardo Lara. This LA Times article “ Thanks to Trump and to the GOP, a California single-payer healthcare system is now possible” is an interesting analysis of this bill. The debate between Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz on the video below offers a good overview of contrasting opinions on how to improve the health care system.
My hopes that Correa had evolved and joined the movement did not last long. The other speakers, the chants, the cheers for the passing motorists blowing their horns in support, the commitment of the people attending the rally, reinforced that there is indeed an active resistance to Trump’s plan to roll back advances in basic rights such as health care.
The organizers of the rally are holding a meeting today: ” Our Revolution Santa Ana will have our second monthly meeting on Saturday at 7 PM at Alta Baja Market. You can get event details and information using the following link” : https://go.ourrevolution.com/page/event/detail/volunteeractivityormeeting/gplr2g
Second LA Times column : “Fixing healthcare: Which single-payer system would be best for California?