By James Jackson Jr.
Ami Bera, Democrat for District 7 of California in the House of Representatives, has a terrible record for a medical professional presenting himself as a progressive.
Dr. Bera ousted ultra conservative Dan Lungren in 2012. However, Bera has voted with Donald Trump’s policies 30% of the time, making him one of the 20 Democratic representatives who vote with Trump the most.
Three examples of Bera's voting record include:
- Bera voted in favor of using the death penalty against people who attack “first responders,” which is a federal “Blue Lives Matter” bill.
- Bera voted to eliminate the independent board responsible for keeping down Medicare costs.
- Bera has voted to table motions to impeach the president every time they have come up for debate in the house. He also helped to co-sponsor H.R. 620, a bill that takes away a disabled persons right to sue over architectural inaccessibility.
Questions about Dr. Bera’s record only grow from here. As a representative, Bera has accepted donations from the medical industry. In fact, Kaiser Permanente is his second biggest donor for his entire political career, and it's one of the organizations actively campaigning against Medicare for all. When given the chance to support HR 676, a Medicare for all bill put forth in the house by former representative John Conyers, Bera voted against it. Bera received a combined $76,000 from the pharmaceutical industry in his last election cycle. With healthcare becoming so important in the upcoming election, one can’t help but wonder if the doctor's weakness on the issue will hurt him with voters.
Many of Bera’s constituents have already begun organizing around healthcare. Our Sacramento DSA comrades within his district have long been campaigning for SB 562 and have now joined the national DSA Medicare-for-All campaign. With the growth of this movement both locally and nationally it is vital that our representatives take notice of our demands for complete care. This is especially true for any representative who also advertises themselves as an authority on healthcare.
Dr. Bera has an interesting election ahead of him. A self-described progressive and Berniecrat recently dropped his campaign for Bera’s seat without giving an official reason. That leaves Bera running against GOP candidates Yona Barash, Andrew Grant, and Omba Kipuke. Robert Richardson of the Green Party is also running.
Dr. Bera has marketed himself as a member of “the Resistance,” as a pragmatic voice of reason against conservatives and Trump. However, his voting and donor records show an insurance industry darling that is unwilling and unable to stand up to Donald Trump.
For a medical professional serving in congress to not explicitly endorse Medicare for All, to take donations from privatized healthcare, and support a bill threatening the disabled’s right to sue can be worrying, especially when Bera is the only Democrat running in an open primary. Bera, as a doctor and a lawmaker, has some changes he has to make and his constituents can see to it he makes them. Sacramento DSA’s organizing for SB 562 and Medicare-for-All must continue and must grow. The growth of such campaigns in his district will be the thing to sway the policies of people like Doctor Ami Bera.