Knoxville-Oak Ridge CLC endorses HR 676, Improved Medicare for All

From Unions for Single Payer

President Suzanne Coile reports that the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Area Central Labor Council unanimously endorsed HR 676, national single payer health care legislation, at its April, 2012 meeting. “Everyone completely agreed on HR 676,” said Coile, “and all of us are totally opposed to any kind of voucher system.”

Coile spoke of the health care crisis in her region. “Twice last year the Remote Area Medical (RAM) free clinic came to Knoxville, and the people who needed care began lining up at midnight the night before. The need is so great, even for Knoxville which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Tennessee.”

Suzanne Coile’s union is OPEIU Local 2001 which represents workers in the Tennessee Valley Authority System. The Knoxville-Oak Ridge Area Central Labor Council represents union workers in fourteen counties including Knox, Blount, and Anderson in the eastern part of Tennessee. It is the 140th Central Labor Council to endorse HR 676.

HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a greatly improved Medicare 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 76 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 590 union organizations including 140 Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations and 40 state AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT, OH, DE, ND, WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, NC, MO, MN, ME, AR, MD-DC, TX, IA, AZ, TN, OR, GA, OK, KS, CO, IN, AL, CA, AK, MI, MT, NE, NJ, NY, NV & MA).