News articles report that Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) has instructed the staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee to begin working on a comprehensive healthcare bill to be presented in the next Congress that convenes in early January.
The following letter was sent to Senator Ted Kennedy on behalf of the All Unions Committee for Single Payer Healthcare—HR 676.
We encourage all who read this to contact Senator Kennedy’s office urging him to offer single payer legislation modeled on House bill HR 676. We urge you to do this as an individual and to ask your union, or organization, to do so as well.
November 7, 2008
Senator Ted Kennedy
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Kennedy,
We understand that you are currently working energetically on a comprehensive health care reform bill to be introduced in the new session.
There are certain junctures in history when the obstacles of the past melt in the heat of a rising popular demand for change. This is one of those times.
You once proudly described yourself as “an old single payer advocate.” We urge you to return to that vision now when your tremendous influence could make this truly just and practical plan a reality.
Please consider the simplicity, cost effectiveness and humanity of a single payer plan which could be implemented comparatively easily as was traditional Medicare. Any plan that keeps the profit-making insurance companies in the mix will add layers of bureaucracy, will not be able to control costs, and will fail in the noble effort to bring good care to all.
We ask that you introduce, in the Senate, legislation modeled on HR 676, which has now gained the support of 94 representatives in the US House, 480 union bodies, 39 state AFL-CIO’s, 117 Central Labor Councils, 20 international unions, the US Conference of Mayors, the Houses of Representatives in Kentucky, New Hampshire and New York, and hundreds more cities, counties, faith groups and organizations that express the great hope and dire need of our people.
We urge you to be our Tommy Douglas, to lead the charge for nonprofit single payer universal coverage. The people will be with you. Surely we deserve the health benefits offered to the people of every other country in the industrialized world—all medically necessary care and freedom from the fear of economic ruin due to illness. It is only by moving to single payer that we can cut the waste while expanding the care.
We must not squander the opportunity of this momentous time. With your experience and stature in Congress and the nation, you are uniquely able to ensure that generations to come will enjoy the legacy of health care as a human right. Please say “yes” to single payer.