Advocates will take to the streets — in their cars — on February 6 to demand single-payer healthcare. The demonstration, backed by the California Nurses Association, is part of a statewide effort: the California Guaranteed Health Care for All campaign’s kickoff day of action.
The local Car Caravan is headed up by longtime Sonoma resident Dr. Mary McDevitt, former medical director of Marin General Hospital and San Jose Medical Center.
“The need for a single-payer healthcare system not tied to employment status has become increasingly obvious since the pandemic began,” said Dr. McDevitt, a member of Physicians for a National Health Program. “Because health insurance in the U.S. is typically provided by employers, the numbers of uninsured and underinsured have increased along with Covid-caused spikes in unemployment.”
The Caravan will start at Flowery Elementary School at 1 p.m. and end at Sonoma City Hall around 2:30 p.m.
Supporters wearing masks and practicing social distancing will be stationed at “noisemaker” sites along the route. At City Hall, Council Member Jack Ding will present a City Council Resolution In Support of a Single-Payer Healthcare System for the State of California to Sonoma Mayor Logan Harvey.
Sonoma County now has an unemployment rate of 15.2%; 5.4 million Californians lost their health insurance in the past year, McDevitt said.
Supporters argue that a consolidated single-payer system would also be more cost-effective than the existing one with its multiplicity of for-profit insurance providers.
“Individuals, employers including public authorities would benefit,” McDevitt said. “For example, the nearly $84 million annual to Sonoma County for providing healthcare benefits to all its employees as well as their dependents and retirees, would no longer be borne by the County — allowing more funds for public use.”