The Peace & Freedom Party endorsed a statewide day of action on Saturday, February 6th, organized by the California Nurses Association, demanding a single-payer “CalCare” health system. Over 20 car caravan actions took place in California cities, including San Francisco, Sacramento, Redding, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Bernardino, Hemet, and San Diego.
In San Diego, the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Peace & Freedom Party hosted a caravan at Balboa Park with over 35 cars. Other organizations in attendance for San Diego’s day of action included Socialist Alternative, Democratic Socialists of America, and Movement for a People’s Party.
Cars in San Diego were decorated with signs that had slogans like, “Healthcare is a human right!” and “Put people over profits!” The caravan left Balboa Park and looped around Hillcrest and City Heights, drawing honks and cheers of support from the public.
Similar caravan demonstrations, some smaller and many larger, were held around the state. Peace and Freedom Party activists participated in rallies in Sacramento, San Francisco, Redding, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Bernardino, and other cities.
With over 100,000 members in all 50 states, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee is one of the fastest growing labor organizations in the U.S. While nurses and other healthcare workers are working longer hours and risking their physical and mental health to care for their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, major U.S. health insurance companies like CVS Health and Humana are reporting earnings that are double what they were a year prior. As hospitals and essential workers continue to experience shortages of equipment, corporate managers and middlemen will profit. It is no surprise, then, that nurses and other medical workers are fighting for universal public healthcare.
COVID-19 has further highlighted the inequality that is central to capitalism. As millions of people—disproportionately working class women of color—are forced to choose between going to the doctor and paying their rent, it is clear that capitalist for-profit health insurers who restrict access to healthcare perpetuate the spread of the pandemic.
A single-payer healthcare system with universal coverage would ensure that everyone could see a doctor during the pandemic, regardless of their income. The Peace & Freedom Party strongly disagrees with Joe Biden’s dangerous assertion that there is “nothing we can do” about the pandemic. Instead, we support the California Nurses Association in asserting that giving people universal healthcare is a necessary start.
Ultimately, healthcare is a human right that should be constitutionally guaranteed to all, free of charge! Under socialism, no essential industry, like healthcare, would function for the profits of CEOs and investors.
– written by Taylor Ikehara