Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Press Release: AFL-CIO Convention Endorses Single-Payer

Unanimous Vote for Medicare-for-All Reform 

PITTSBURGH – In a historic vote that adds the nation’s leading voice of American workers to a broad national campaign, the AFL-CIO voted unanimously at its national convention here today to endorse the enactment of single-payer, universal healthcare for all Americans. The resolution was sponsored by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and the Alameda County (California) Central Labor Council. In urging its support, CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro, an AFL-CIO National Vice-President, noted the recent death of Crystal Lee Sutton, the real-life union organizer from the film Norma Rae who died last week after a long battle with cancer, exacerbated by her own three-year fight with her insurance company. “No one should spend the last days of their life fighting with their insurance company,” said DeMoro. “We should not make choices of who gets healthcare based on their ethnicity, gender, or economic status. But I am addressing the labor movement, not Wall Street. And we all know what is the right thing – the moral thing – single-payer healthcare.”

It marks the first time in perhaps two decades that the AFL-CIO has been formally on record in support of single-payer, which would essentially expand and improve Medicare to cover all Americans. Labor unions around the country have been in the forefront of grassroots actions around the nation in support of single-payer and many labor bodies submitted resolutions to the national convention in support of an endorsement. The resolution notes that “the experience of Medicare (and of nearly every other industrialized country) shows the most cost-effective and equitable way to provide quality healthcare is through a single-payer system. Our nation should provide a single high standard of comprehensive care for all.” It also sites specific single-payer bills, including HR 676, which has 86 cosponsors in Congress.

The vote came shortly after the convention was addressed by President Obama who repeated his call for comprehensive healthcare reform, and will accompany another AFL-CIO resolution supporting other Congressional efforts to pass comprehensive reform. It also followed a reception hosted by CNA/NNOC and other unions Monday night featuring filmmaker Michael Moore whose previous film SiCKO presaged the current national debate with its indictment of the healthcare industry, and was on hand to premiere his latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story to the AFL-CIO convention. In his speech Moore recalled that 65 years ago President Franklin Roosevelt proposed a second bill of rights which called for a right to universal medical care, a fight that continues. He noted that every day the healthcare industry spends over $1 million to block reform while thousands of Americans continue to lose coverage, and urged labor and community activists to keep up the fight. 

Regardless of the outcome of the current healthcare legislative action, said United Steel Workers President Leo Gerard, “we’re going to continue the fight for single-payer. I’m not in favor of universal insurance, I’m in favor of universal healthcare. We are going to fight to make sure every single American gets high quality healthcare.” “We know the patient care crisis, we see it every day,” said CNA/NNOC co-president Zenei Cortez, RN at the reception. “We will not rest until we get rid of the private insurance companies that profit off of suffering.” Greg Junemann, president of International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers and chair of the HR 676 Labor Caucus, which has won similar endorsements from hundreds of international and local unions and state and local labor federations, noted to the convention the unity of labor in fighting for real reform. He also cited the ongoing fight of workers every day to protect the health coverage many have now. “The labor movement needs to set our flag on the top of the mountain, and that we will not rest until we have single-payer healthcare for all,” said Junemann. DeMoro welcomed the many international guests in the convention, and noted how most of them represent industrial nations where no one dies from lack of health coverage or goes bankrupt or loses homes due to un-payable medical bills. “The reason? Because they have single-payer or other national healthcare systems, and because your labor movement led the fight for healthcare. Here insurance companies are at the apex of power, controlling our lives. It is not the public option we should be questioning, it is the private option and its horrendous power over our families,” DeMoro said. “When we meet again in four years, perhaps if we adopt single-payer, we will be like all our international brothers and sisters in this room, and no longer be the richest nation in the world but just 37th in healthcare,” DeMoro said.

Press Release Link: http://www.calnurses.org/media-center/press-releases/2009/september/afl-cio-convention-endorses-single-payer.html

Saturday, September 5, 2009

HEALTHCARE PICNIC PANEL: Saturday, Sept 12th 11am-2pm

Saturday SEPT 12th
542 Moreland Ave SE: Click for Map/Directions 
HEALTHCARENOWGA - Contact: denisewoodallksu@yahoo.com


Please reply to this post with your  "must haves" ideas. Let me know what you demand in healthcare reform. So far we have:
  • A strong public option that extends to EVERYONE in America who wants it one that honors patient choice
  • No more pre-existing condition clauses
  • Ending incentives for employers to fire their sick workers (to lower premiums)
  • A plan that does not cut into medicare or medicaid
  • Restriction of the insurance companies profit motives
  • No mandatory purchasing of insurance (not increase the insurance companies client base) 
  • Reduction of the administrative costs created by the different procedures of 1300 insurance companies.
  • A focus on prevention (provide incentives for preventative healthcare)
We will  also be tallying who is for a single payer system, who is not, and who thinks the public option will lead to single payer. The Weiner amendment will be up for a vote which replaces the entire section A of HR3200 with single payer text. If you support that ... wonderful. Let us know on our tally boards.

We will be discussing and tallying everyone's ideas surrounding all these issues on this day.

In regards to legislation that is currently in Congress (items that are not single payer) we want to have some minimum requirements as a community... these are a few of the 'must haves' that we collected from some folks at the sept 3rd rally at the capital. So glad for everyone who was there to support!!
Our goal of the picnic panel  (besides to eat, to have fun, learn and to mingle among the progressive community) is to build a list 10 - 15 points and demands for healthcare legislation that we (as a community) will support. 

Send me your ideas and we'll put them on a big community board at the picnic...we'll tally up the responses at the end and see what items are most important to our community in regards to our healthcare. Email these to denisewoodallksu@yahoo.com

Bring your questions for our diverse panel!!! See you on Saturday. Stay tuned for more updates

Unifying to bring Healthcare to all. 
Bring your questions, your input, and your appetite for lunch and a unique panel of guests: 
Jeff Ingram with Organizing for America
Henry Kahn with Physicians for a National Health Program
Rita Valenti with Grady
& Debra Greenwood with ABLE.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Top Ten Ways To Tell Your President & His Party Aren't Fighting For Health Care For Everybody

by Bruce Dixon (Published on Friday, July 31, 2009 on Black Agenda Report)


With the corporate media relentlessly distorting the public discussion around health care reform, it time for some clear, bright lines to help us tell who is doing what to whom, and whether any of it leads to health care for all of us. Here are ten of them.


Barack Obama and Democratic majorities in the House and Senate were swept into office on a promise they would deliver affordable and accessible health care for all Americans. But the corporate media journalism limits the national health care conversation to what insurance companies, drug companies, for-profit health care professionals, their executives, lobbyists and politicians of both parties and other hirelings have to say. So it isn't as easy as it ought to be to tell what the politicians are doing about accomplishing health care for everybody. Hence we offer these ten points. This is how you can tell whether your president and his party are fighting for the health care you deserve.

Click Here to View Full Article

Who's Blocking Health Care Reform Now? Blue Dogs? Senate Dems? House Progressives? Or the White House Itself?

health care  again By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
In less than a year, Democrats have transformed themselves from the party of change to the party of excuses. Republican birthers and teapartyers, blue dog Democrats, rogue donkey and elephant senators, and even progressives favoring single payer or the shadowy “public option” have all been blamed by the White House for holding up health care --- or is it health insurance --- reform. But with the end of the August recess, the ring is closing and the clock is ticking...    
Click Here to View Full Article

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rally for Medicare for All: Sept 3rd - 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol

Rally for Medicare for All Sept 3 - 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol (Washington Street side).
Do you believe health care is a basic human right, not a commodity to be bought and sold by profiteering, parasitic health insurance companies? Then join HealthcareNOW-GA at what is being billed as "the biggest rally of the year [in Georgia] for health insurance reform" this Thursday, Sept. 3 at the Capitol (Washington Street side).
Although this rally was called by "public option" advocates, we will be there to raise the banner of REAL health care reform -- Improved and Expanded Medicare for All, as codified in Rep. John Conyers' bill, H.R. 676, and Senator Bernie Sanders' companion bill, S. 703. 
We (HealthcareNOW-GA) will meet at the corner of Washington St. & Martin Luther King Dr. at 11:30. Wear orange if you have it. Bring handheld signs & banners (signs or banners on sticks not permitted at the Capitol). We will have plenty of flyers. Suggested sign slogans: "Medicare for All - H.R. 676"; "Health Care is a Human Right -- H.R. 676"; "Health Care YES -- Insurance Companies NO," "Everybody In, Nobody Out -- H.R. 676." For more ideas, see the attached 2-sided flyer or a brief summary of H.R. 676 at http://www.healthcare-now.org/hr-676/.

If you would like to join the ongoing struggle for Medicare for All, join HealthcareNow-GA and receive regular action alerts and educational articles. Email healthcarenowga@yahoo.com and you will be added to the listserv.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Money-Driven Health Care Video

These are the links to this past weekend's Bill Moyers Journal which showed the movie Money-Driven Health Care.