Sen. Feinstein Booed For Not Supporting Single Payer Healthcare

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Above Photo: Protesters outside the town hall said they were “absolutely pissed off at Dianne Feinstein” for insufficient resistance against the Trump administration. (Photo: @scottshafer/Twitter)

“I am not there,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein says of single-payer healthcare, a concept garnering big applause around the country

It’s not only Republicans that are feeling the heat in their hometowns during this congressional recess. Democrats who aren’t on board with increasingly popular progressive proposals are being held to account as well.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was a case-in-point on Monday, when she faced angry and vocal constituents at a midday town hall meeting in her hometown of San Francisco.

It was her stance on single-payer healthcare—an idea that’s picking up momentum in the wake of last month’s TrumpCare debacle, especially in California—that drew the most vociferous response.

When asked about her position on such a system, Feinstein responded: “If single-payer healthcare is going to mean the complete takeover by the government of all healthcare, I am not there.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, one audience member called Feinstein a “sellout” as others joined in chants of “single-payer now!”


On this matter, signs show that Feinstein is indeed out-of-step with constituents and colleagues alike. A poll out earlier this month found 61 percent of respondents support “a federally funded health insurance system that covered every American,” while Rep. John Conyers’ (D-Mich.) Medicare-for-All bill has more legislative support than ever before. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has gotten big applause for his forthcoming Medicare-for-All proposal, and in fact even found widespread support for universal healthcare deep in Trump country.

The 83-year-old senator, who has held her seat since 1992 and has not yet said whether she’ll run for re-election next year (protesters at the event asked her not to do so), also caught flak for not opposing President Donald Trump’s recent missile strikes on Syria and for not fighting back enough against the Trump administration overall.

The Mercury News reported:

While critics and supporters alike were urging her to speak out more forcefully against Trump, even goading her to call the president “a fascist,” Feinstein resisted, and explained how her power was limited as a single senator in the minority party.

“Everybody thinks that every one person in the House or Senate can change the direction,” she said. “Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t.”

That stance was uninspiring to 27-year-old Jegath Athilingam, a neuroscience doctoral student at UC San Francisco, who told SF Gate: “We would like to see her represent her liberal constituency a lot more forcefully. We want to see her take the lead, as someone with her amount of seniority should do.”

SF Gate added:

The Feinstein camp knew who would be in Monday’s audience. In the lobby of the building, Feinstein aides posted 36 statements, position papers, and opinion page pieces, most focused on how she has opposed Trump nominees (labeled “Feinstein on Trump nominees”) or taken stances different from the administration.

Not mentioned there were the nine Trump nominees she voted to confirm, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis. A Feinstein aide said that given Trump’s lack of expertise in international and military policy, she wanted to surround the president with seasoned professionals.

Again, such excuses don’t pass muster with some members of the resistance.

“San Francisco citizens, activists, and voters…are absolutely pissed off at Dianne Feinstein over her…votes in favor of Trump nominees and her comments saying Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court was ‘quote, impressive,’ [and] her whispering to the Republican Party: ‘Do not worry, the Democrats will stand aside and allow you to achieve the Trump agenda,'” Ben Becker, a San Francisco resident and delegate for the California Democratic Party, told the Sacramento Bee. “We will not stand aside and allow the Trump agenda to go forward. That is unacceptable—not in San Francisco, not in America.”

To Feinstein, he declared: “Do not seek re-election. We will not vote for you.”

  • DHFabian

    “Single-payer” is understood to mean “universal health care.” Under current policies, etc., this would defy all logic. Poverty is certain to worsen in the coming years. There’s no logic in providing anything more than emergency room services to the poor, just to dump them back on the streets, denied adequate food and shelter. The medical community and the political community are well aware of the very costly health-related consequences of poverty.

    Our middle class want lower (or no) premiums and more options, and only for those who are currently employed. The real problem is the high costs of emergency room services — usually the only option available to our poor. We need to consider creating a streamlined (far less costly) alternative for the poor — something along the lines of military triage units, with a dormitory for those who are too seriously ill or injured to immediately be sent back out on the streets. It’s an uncomfortable discussion because it could shine a light on just how inhumane our current treatment of our poor actually is. But given the reality of current budgets, it’s a discussion we must have.

  • chetdude

    “Feinstein responded: “If single-payer healthcare is going to mean the complete takeover by the government of all healthcare”

    Classic republican politician’s strawman when it comes to health care…

    Only very few other country’s systems consist of a “complete takeover by the government of all healthcare” – notably Great Britain. The others are various levels of Public/Private hybrids.

    Of course, consider the source. As far back as when she was on the extreme right-wing of the San Francisco City Council in the 70s – elevated to Mayor by Dan White’s bullets – DiFi has ALWAYS been a RICH Republican…and tireless worker for her Class…

  • chetdude

    “emergency room services to the poor, just to dump them back on the streets, denied adequate food and shelter”

    NO ONE in the “Single Payer” camp is suggesting this!

    Instead of pissing on the parade how about thinking in terms of BOTH/AND!

    ‘something along the lines of military triage units, with a dormitory for those who are too seriously ill or injured to immediately be sent back out on the streets.’

    Rather than your inferior 4th tier for the poor, “concentration camp health care”, I’d prefer to see a system like the one in Cuba – Local, neighborhood clinics with a doctor and nurse on site 24/7/365 within walking distance…practicing REAL, Cash-less Holistic Health Care.

    Oh, and they also have NO homeless people as well. Housing and a minimum amount of food is a basic Right there…

  • kevinzeese

    If we get a national publicly funded healthcare system it will be a major step toward breaking from the mistakes of recent decades and over-reliance on market-based solutions, trickle down economics, neo-liberalism and cutting the social safety net. It would be a breakthrough in people power over corporate power. This is a parade those concerned about the poor should be joining not pissing on.

  • chetdude

    I agree…

  • Thom Rip

    Hopefully her time as a rep is near over….another double speaking Dem fraud. ‘Cept this time not so double speaking.. outright defiance of the peoples will,

  • DHFabian

    Can you understand that the lack of adequate food and shelter have taken a very heavy toll on the poor since we ended actual welfare aid some 20 years ago? When was the last time you heard liberals call for restoring basic food and shelter to our poor?

  • DHFabian

    But if we don’t sidestep the issue, we remain stuck with the fact that not everyone can work (health, etc.) and there aren’t jobs for all. Americans oppose basic poverty relief for our “surplus population” — those who aren’t currently needed by the job market.

  • chetdude

    SOME ‘Americans oppose basic poverty relief for our “surplus population”‘ – mostly the ones to own the system.

    We ‘Americans’ who support Single-payer would also support a guaranteed annual income.

  • chetdude

    Who are you talking about?

    If by “liberals” you mean that small, elitist group of corporate funded democrats who pretend to operate the democrat party and who eviscerated the social safety net in the 90s — yep, they don’t mention anything that might piss off their money sources.

    If you mean the “left” radicals and “liberal” activists that I’ve worked with over the decades and the ones working right now to build a massive, militant Popular Resistance, they’re also dedicated to providing basic food, shelter, Health Care and a decent income to everyone; including “our poor”.

    (By the way, when was basic food and shelter provided for “our poor” in USAmerica. Believe me the demeaning, patronizing welfare system in the 50s and 60s wasn’t it!)

  • spengler1

    Universal Health Care —NOW !!!