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Welcome to Code WACK!

featuring host Brenda Gazzar


Shining a light on America's callous healthcare system

and what we can do about it.


Now streaming on Nurse Talk Media and Progressive Voices!


Powered by HEAL California


Nov 15, 2021

Show Notes


The Power of Labor in California’s Battle for Single Payer


Check out Code WACK!’s latest insightful podcast, the second of two featuring Cindy Young, labor advocate and expert in health benefit negotiations, discussing how best to work with the labor movement in the fight for single-payer, Medicare for All.  

Host Brenda Gazzar and Young, board member of the California Alliance for Retired Americans and vice chair of Healthy California Now, talk about the winning strategies needed to guarantee American workers the healthcare security they need.


Click here for podcast transcript

Click here for Cindy Young’s biography 

Podcast image (l to r): 

Cindy Young & Rose Roach, Minnesota Nurses Association


Healthy California Now,  a statewide coalition of organizations and activists dedicated to establishing a single-payer, Medicare-for-All system in California, has never seen more labor participation in its history than it has now, says Young. 

That includes the National Union of Healthcare Workers, UNITE HERE, the machinist unions, California Federation of Teachers and more.

“So I think our organizing approach with unions is different now because we are asking them to be partners. We aren’t telling them: ‘Sign on to this bill.’ ‘Do this.’ We're saying, we believe this is the only way we're going to manage to keep a decent health plan is to take it off the bargaining table and, you know, we guarantee health care for every worker by guaranteeing health care for all.”


That’s not to say the challenges over the years have gotten any easier... 

“It's always around capacity. You know, capacity to do the work. Capacity to find activists. Capacity, you know, to get programs up and running, right? And to get people's attention to advance, right, the vision and goal and that's hard to do without a bazillion dollars,” explains Young.


Young added that it’s hard to get anything done in Sacramento without labor support. But she believes there’s reason for hope that California will eventually find its way to Medicare for All.

“As hard as this issue is to organize around, if you look back at the last 10 years, we have made incredible strides in convincing the public, right? The California Endowment just did these town halls all over the state focusing on what people want out of a healthcare system.”


In fact, the California Endowment and several other foundations recently learned that 65 percent of low-income Californians want government-run health care.

“I feel like we're in a good position to make more advancements. I'm hopeful about the Healthy California Commission, the governor's commission,” Young continues. “I don't think it's going to be a perfect report but if that report, right, can lead us in a direction, then we have a door open to do more work and to help us advance our cause down the road.”


Thanks for listening! And remember to subscribe to Code WACK! to catch all our episodes about America’s broken healthcare system on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen.


Get Involved / Take Action


Join Healthy California Now  - individual and organizational membership available


Join the CalCare Campaign to pass AB1400, the Guaranteed Health Care for All Act


Subscribe to HEAL California for health policy news with a California focus


Join Health Care for All California to keep up with local actions in your area


Join Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) to join the national campaign

Helpful Links

“CalCare” Press Release, Assemblyman Ash Kalra, Feb 19, 2021

“CalCare” Bill Text: AB 1400, Guaranteed Health Care for All (California State Assembly)

Healthy California Now, California’s statewide, non-partisan organizational coalition for guaranteed, universal health care 

Healthy California for All Commission, charged by California Gov. Gavin Newsom to “develop a plan for advancing progress toward achieving a health care delivery system for California that provides coverage and access through a unified financing system, including, but not limited to a single payer financing system.” 

Healthcare Survey of Low-Income Californians, commissioned by the California Community Foundation, California Health Care Foundation, and The California Endowment