CA Nurses' Union vs Reality

Posted by Abby Streu on Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 at 4:53 pm - Permalink

By Abby Streu

On March 30, 2017, Healthy California, or SB 562, was introduced by California State Senators Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). This proposed legislation would morph California into a single-payer healthcare state, costing its taxpayers an estimated $400 billion every year. The current total Californian budget is only around $110 billion per year. 

What does the text of SB 562 say in regards to funding this massive program? “It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would develop a revenue plan, taking into consideration anticipated federal revenue available for the program. In developing the revenue plan, it is the intent of the Legislature to consult with appropriate officials and stakeholders.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that a legislative analysis of SB 562 showed that the funding would come from a 15 percent payroll tax on employers. The legislative report even made the comment, “Therefore, there is tremendous uncertainty in how such a system would be developed, how the transition to the new system would occur, and how participants in the new system would behave.”

The bill has received a boost from some high profile interest groups, including the highly-partisan California Nurses Association (CNA), which has been named the “lead sponsors” of this bill, according to the Healthy California website.

This isn’t the first time that the CNA has pushed single-payer healthcare. In the 2016 Democratic Primary Election, the CNA endorsed Bernie Sanders, who popularized the concept of “free” healthcare for Americans. In fact, the union forked out around $1.3 million for projects supporting the kooky socialist’s campaign. 

On April 26, 2017, the first California senate hearing on the bill was celebrated by demonstrators from the nurses’ union. According to a report from the National Nurses United (the coalition of nursing unions that CNA belongs to), approximately 1,000 registered nurses, organized by the CNA, rallied outside the California Senate Health Committee’s hearing on the bill.

Later that day, the CNA issued a press release, quoting the executive director of the CNA, RoseAnn DeMoro saying, “The most important thing today was the breadth and depth of support by the dozens of people lining up to back the bill, representing 250 organizations across the state. These are organizers who are going to be with us to make the Healthy California Act the law of the land in California.”  

DeMoro, has been attempting to ignite a movement in favor of the bill from CNA ranks. A Huffington Post article from May 10, 2017 written by DeMoro declared that the CNA’s message to the U.S. Congress is that “[the union] will never be silent in the face of the mortal threat to our nation posed by your immoral assault on health care.”


On May 19, 2017, numerous registered nurses from the union visited state legislators, and then participated in another rally on the steps of the Californian Capital Building. After the rally, the horde marched through the streets of Sacramento to the convention center there. 

When they arrived, they began to taunt the current Democratic National Committee Chair, Tom Perez, and his lukewarm feelings towards the extremely progressive piece of legislation.

If that’s not enough, DeMoro then gave an address to the protestors, where she threatened Democrats in the State Senate. She browbeat these politicians, stating that if they had any apprehension over backing the bill, the NNU/CNA would put forth primary election opposition to them in the next cycle.

On May 22, the California Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing on SB 562. They will vote Thursday, May 25. According to a press release from the CNA, if the bill makes it way out of the Appropriations Committee unscathed, Healthy California will see action in the full senate by early June.

And as the Sacramento Bee warns, “...the average salary of a registered nurse in California is $135,000. In equivalent dollars, Canadian nurses under their single-payer system make $65,000 per year.” Other countries with socialized medicine have similarly grim statistics when it comes to nursing compensation. Nurses in Great Britain earn, on average, €23,319 per year, which is approximately $26,082. In Germany, the average salary of a nurse is €26,802, or approximately $29,978. 

California nurses, not to mention taxpayers, may want to think twice about listening to the CNAs' siren song on single-payer.  Everywhere it's been tried it's been a prescription for high costs, fewer options, long waits, and the rationing of critical health nurses.