Mark Leno enters national health care fray

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is rubbing elbows with members of Congress in Washington, D.C., today for events to promote single-payer universal health care.

Leno – author of the California Universal Health Care Act, SB 810 – is about to join Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., to speak at a “Medicare: Made in America,” rally in support of Conyers’ HR 676, which creates a Medicare-for-all-style health care system. Afterward, he’ll be meeting with House and Senate members and staffers in support of a single-payer system.

“Our health care system is a failed experiment,” Leno said in a news release. “We don’t even have a health care system in this country, we have a risk management system, and the risk being managed is not the health of you and your family, it’s the profit margin of the insurance industry. People are realizing that insurance companies don’t provide health care – they ration it based on who can pay the most. A single payer system would put doctors and patients back in charge of health care decisions and is proven to save billions a year in wasteful administration. We need to build on systems, like Medicare, that we know will work.”

Later yet this afternoon, Leno will join Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, at a Congressional briefing on state-based single payer initiatives sponsored by the California Nurses, to talk about successes and setbacks in California’s own health-care reform efforts.

“California made history by passing a Medicare for all style health care plan – twice – only to have it thwarted by the Governor,” Leno said. “The single payer movement in California continues to grow quickly in every county of the state and our success has inspired other state legislatures. We won’t stop pushing until every American has access to health care.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.