A dozen older residents, all but one women, symbolically “died” in front of Assemblyman Jim Wood’s (D-Healdsburg) office in Ukiah Wednesday in a show of support for a state bill that would create single-payer health care for California. Their message, written on signs shaped like gravestones: “Dying without SB 562.”
The bill, named the Healthy California Act, stalled in the Assembly after passing the Senate floor. The protesters, also with groups in Santa Rosa and Eureka, seemed to be initially blaming Wood for the bill not passing.
Nearly all of the protesters in Ukiah said they are on Medicare, which is a single-payer program, but they still felt strongly about making that an option for everyone.
“We’re not here for self-interest. We’re here for the betterment of our society,” said one protester, Margaret Koster.
Wood had anticipated the action, having caught wind of the rallies, and issued a statement the day before.
“I recognize the passion of these advocates and will always advocate for their right to voice their opinions,” Wood said. “Although SB 562 was held in the Assembly this year, solutions to move toward universal health care are in the works, and I hope these advocates are not stuck on this one solution to achieve health care for all.”
Ruth Valenzuela, a representative of Wood’s office, met with the protesters outside and offered a bit of explanation, saying they had been bombarded with “hundreds and hundreds of terrible calls” already. Some had included death threats, she said.
“I’ve been doing this for 12 years and I’ve never been more disappointed in…
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