This week, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a revised version of the American Health Security Act (S 915), legislation which, if implemented, would create a national single-payer healthcare system. Sanders was joined by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) – who introduced the companion House Bill (HR 1200) earlier this year – and labor leaders from the national AFL-CIO, National Nurses United (NNU), DC Metro Labor Council, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), Labor Campaign for Single Payer and Minnesota Nurses Association on Capitol Hill for a press conference to reaffirm their commitment to making healthcare a human right.
In anticipation of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the AFL-CIO passed Resolution 34 at their national conference in 2009 to declare its support for health justice. “Even with the passage of PPACA, the task of establishing healthcare as a human right still lies before us,” said Arlene Holt Baker, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President, speaking at the press conference.
At the press conference, both Sanders and McDermott mentioned they were motivated to continue the fight for single-payer healthcare on the national level because of progress they on the state level, most notably in Vermont (where a piece of legislation laying out a roadmap to implementing a single-payer system is expected to be signed by the governor in the next few days) and in California (where a single-payer bill recently passed through a Senate committee).
Sanders called attention to the fact that PPACA will leave at least 23 million people uninsured when fully implemented, highlighting that the United States is the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee healthcare coverage to its people.
S 915 and HR 1200 join HR 676 as legislative vehicles for passing national single-payer healthcare reform. Healthcare-NOW! will soon put out a more detailed analysis of S 915 for our supporters.
Healthcare-NOW! is a membership-based advocacy organization for national single-payer healthcare. To find out more and join the movement, please visit www.healthcare-now.org.