Maureen Cruise, Healthcare for All Los Angeles, Explains why AB1400 CalCare is the Best Healthcare Bill


In this impassioned speech, Maureen Cruise emphasizes the need for equal access to healthcare and the importance of AB 1400, a bill aimed at achieving single-payer healthcare in California. They highlight the systemic disadvantages faced by people based on their ethnicity, language, and color, and stress the bill’s focus on restorative measures and cultural sensitivity. The speaker criticizes the profit-driven nature of insurance and advocates for directing resources towards providing quality care for all. They urge listeners to contact their legislators and support the bill, which they argue would save money and ensure that healthcare funds are allocated for the people’s needs.


Healthcare Los Angeles, one of the dynamic organizations statewide, has been moving this whole legislation along, and we have Maureen Cruise, one of the spokespersons here to address us. [Applause]

Hello, everyone. It’s such a pleasure to be here with people who care about our shared humanity and how we can make things better. I am a retired public health clinic nurse from LA County, and I’m currently the co-director of Healthcare for All Los Angeles. We are an all-volunteer organization, and I have been working on single-payer healthcare bills worldwide for the last 18 years.

AB 1400 is our seventh attempt at getting decent healthcare in the state of California, and every time has been blocked by the legislature or the governor. So, it is very, very important that each and every person in this room act, as Celine said, as Jackie has said, as everybody has said. We are not going to ever get healthcare equality and a decent healthcare system unless we fight for it. And the way we fight is to keep our voices loud and to keep our voices at our assembly members, our senators, our governor. It’s the only way we’re going to get it.

AB 1400 is the best single-payer bill in the country for a state. It is modeled on the Jayapal bill, which is a federal bill and the best single-payer bill that we have seen. So, why do I say that it’s the best? I say it’s the best because it is everybody in, nobody out. It is an anti-poverty bill. It erases medical debt. No one in other countries knows what medical debt is, and neither should we. You have no out-of-pocket costs at all. It is a racial justice and racial equality bill. As other speakers have said this entire afternoon, people of color, immigrants are at the bottom of the chain for this healthcare system, suffer the most, get the least amount of access, have the most delays, the most denials. But AB 1400 puts all of us in the same care. We all get the same care. That means all of us, the governor, your assembly member, the unhoused person, every person here is in one system. And I guarantee three things will happen. We will have everything we need. It will be high quality, and it will never be on the budget-cutting block because when the governor and my assembly member get what I get, I know it’s going to be good, and I know it’s going to be there, right?

So, this idea, this incremental idea of, “Oh, we’re going to expand Medi-Cal.” No, we’re going to have a public option, another layer on top of all the other, the bronze, the silver, the platinum, no. When they say, “We’re oh, we’re going to expand Medicare.” No. Every time we silo a different level of care, that means some lives are worth more than others. Some people get more than others, some people get less, some people get penthouse care, some people get bargain basement care, and the very unlucky get no care at all. This is a moral issue. What kind of people are we, right? This is a moral issue. Every life matters, and every life matters equally. And that’s what AB 1400 does for us.

So, I encourage you, please, each and every person, oh, it is also, I want to say, it is also the best bill because it makes reparations, right? It is restorative communities and facilities that have been disadvantaged throughout the decades, throughout the centuries that this country has existed.

People have been disadvantaged because of their ethnicity, language, and color. This bill puts into law restorative meaning facility, rural facilities, or facilities in South Central or anywhere that have been denied the funding they need. They are going to get extra funding. The goal is to equalize the care that we all get. That’s very, very important and to equalize it with cultural sensitivity because good healthcare is getting what we need when we need it in the way that we need it. Anything less is not good care.

A word of caution: insurance is not healthcare. They are at odds with one another, they are contradictory. AB 1400 removes insurance. There is no insurance in AB 1400. Nothing between us and our providers. Insurance is a business. It exists for profit. It is there to extract and to siphon away and to exploit people as profit centers. Correct. We don’t want that. That’s not healthcare. We want to put the care back in. Care requires an investment, an infusion of resources. That’s what healthcare demands of us.

People will say, “Well, you know the money, the money, I mean, how much is it going to cost?” But we are already paying for 71% of every healthcare dollar spent in this state. It’s already our tax dollars. We just don’t know it. It’s hidden from us. And in fact, the bill AB 1400 would save us billions of dollars because that’s what’s extracted away for profit and for $50 million CEO salaries for insurance industry executives. The money is in the system. It’s just not being spent on us. And you know what? It’s our money. So we have to call on our legislators to take our money, which is what’s being controlled in the state of California, up there by the legislators. Right? It’s our money. That’s our money. And it needs to be spent on our needs, not given away to their friends who are going to give them campaign contributions.

So please, please, please, each and every person in this room, contact your legislator and tell them. It’s a simple phone call or we passed out little slips. Get on the computer, go to the bitlys, and tell them we want AB 1400 passed. It needs to pass the hurdle on January 14th. It has got to pass the health committee on January 21st. It has got to pass either the tax and revenue or the appropriations committee on January 31st. It has got to pass the entire assembly. And make no mistake about it, there are people within us who claim to be with us, who are working against us because that is how the corporate world works. They are not coming at us with, “Hey, we’re the insurance companies, and we want to be done with you.” Right? No. They’re coming at us from behind. So no insurance, maybe 1400. Everybody and nobody up equally. Thank you. [Music]