From Unions for Single Payer

The Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), meeting in September, 2011 in Orlando, Florida, for its 16th Biennial Convention, voted to “wholeheartedly renew its endorsement of HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.” CLUW first endorsed HR 676 at its 2003 Convention, leading the way for many unions to join in pushing for national, single payer health care.

“Workers, their families and their unions are still waging an increasingly difficult struggle to win or to keep good health care coverage,” states the CLUW resolution. “Almost every union at every contract deadline must battle and sacrifice merely to sustain health care benefits. The rising costs of health insurance are blocking workers’ progress in wages and other areas.”

The resolution was submitted by Vera Newton, President of the Derby City Chapter of CLUW and a member Local 862 UAW which represents workers at two major Ford plants in Louisville, Kentucky.

Helen Ramirez-Odell, RN, of Chicago, Co-chair of national CLUW’s Women’s Health and Wellness Committee, commented on the resolution:

“CLUW has a long record of support for health coverage for all with single payer being the most efficient way to provide it. CLUW believes that health care is a basic human right and that quality health care must be accessible to all, not only to the wealthy or those able to afford an expensive insurance plan.”

The CLUW resolution points out that “More employers are forcing high deductible plans onto workers, resulting, according to Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, in a $1,000 annual pay cut for women due to the higher average health expenditures of women.”

The resolution notes that “About 50 million people in the U. S. are currently without health insurance and the high cost of premiums, deductibles, and co-pays forces even the insured to go without needed care.”

CLUW states the “a single payer program as provided by HR 676 is the only affordable option for universal, comprehensive coverage” and commits “to mobilize our members, our unions, and our communities at the grassroots to encourage other members of the House to sign on as co-sponsors of HR 676.”

On September 15, 2011, Representative Terri A. Sewell of Alabama’s 7th Congressional District signed on to HR 676, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 66 in addition to the sponsor, Congressman John Conyers.

The full CLUW Resolution is at the CLUW website here: http://tinyurl.com/3b5avnk

HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a greatly improved Medicare system to everyone residing in the U. S.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery, periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care and correction, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

In the current Congress, HR 676 has 66 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers.