With Democrats in Sacramento embroiled in a pitched battle over a single-payer health insurance bill, State Assemblymember Monique Limón is feeling serious political heat. Limón, now in the middle of her first summer at the statehouse, has sided with Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who pulled the single-payer bill, authored by senators Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-S.D.), out of committee, preventing it from going to a vote.
Limón said she supports universal health care, but added that the authors of this single-payer bill never identified where the $400 billion needed to pay for it was coming from. “It was a concept, not a full-blown bill,” she stated. “Do we want a statement of values or a full-blown bill that actually says what people are getting?” Limón said she’s gotten hundreds and hundreds of calls, letters, and emails on this proposal, and constituents have been very “forceful,” she said, in telling her she “had to vote for it.” Because of Rendon’s action, the proposal never got to Limón for a vote. Her colleague State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson did vote for it.
Rendon’s action sparked outrage among many aligned with the party’s progressive wing. Over the weekend, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders — a strong supporter of single-payer insurance — denounced Rendon’s action, and RoseAnn DeMoro, head of the California Nurses Association, has been especially intense, posting a cartoon on her Facebook page of a California bear with a butcher’s knife stuck in its back with the name “Rendon” attached. Limón objected that went too far. “I’m absolutely disheartened by the attacks,” she said. “The violence, the bullying is really too much. It’s not a way to move the conversation along.”
When Limón flies to Santa Barbara later this week, she expects to get an earful from single-payer supporters. “When I come home, I am going to really get it. But I do get it; people are really afraid the federal government is going to gut their health care. And people live and die on access to health care.”