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Santa Barbara activists host car caravan demanding guaranteed health care

Car Caravan
Alex Zauner/NC3
Local activists in association with the California Nurses Association hosted a local car caravan this afternoon in Goleta.

GOLETA, Calif. — Local activists in association with the California Nurses Association hosted a local car caravan this afternoon.

The group aimed to urge state legislators and Governor Newsom to pass California Guaranteed Health Care for all, equivalent to federal bills calling for Medicare for All.

Medicare for All activist Ady Barkan is battling ALS and took part in today’s car caravan.

“This crisis has proven how broken our healthcare system is,” he said. “It has proven how dramatically we need to overhaul the system so that we put the health of patients above the profits of healthcare companies.”

The event was part of the nurses’ kickoff day of action, with car caravans in 23 cities across California. 

“It’s time to guarantee healthcare for everyone in this state,” Barkan said. “Time to take away the power of the insurance companies.”

Local activist John Douglas helped organized the event.

“Trying to raise the issue so that people in the community see it affects all of us,” he said.

Sue Smiley grew up in the United Kingdom under a nationally-funded health service system.

“I’ve been in both systems and I know it’s just as busy in England as it is over here,” she said. “The difference is you don’t pay a fortune after you get out of the hospital there while you do here.”

“I’d rather pay a couple of hundred dollars in extra taxes each year, Douglas said. “Compared to the thousands I pay in the premiums to insurance companies.”

Participants practiced physical distancing and wore masks.

Three dozen cars were decked out with signs, flags and washable chalk.

The caravan preceded from Hollister Avenue through upper State Street before meeting at the office of Congressman Salud Carbajal.

“When we honk together, we can be heard all across the state,” Barkan said.

From there, the cars rolled through Milpas Street and Cabrillo Boulevard before coming to a halt at La Playa Stadium.

According to these activists, the need for guaranteed healthcare has grown greater in the COVID-19 crisis.

“We want everyone to be covered, everyone to be vaccinated, everyone to have appropriate healthcare,” Douglas concluded.

The group hopes that the CalCare bill will be introduced to the California State Senate later this month.

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Blake DeVine

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