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Medicare For All via H.R. 676

12.27.07

Medicare For All via H.R. 676

It is obvious that none of the major Presidential candidates of either the Democratic or Republican Parties are supporting the right approach to providing universal healthcare. Frankly, all the Republican candidates are going to be major obstacles to achieving this national goal. While the top Democratic candidates (Clinton, Edwards and Obama) do support the concept, they are all offering Band-Aid approaches for a life-threatening economic and health crisis in America.

A bill has already been introduced in The House by Congressman John Conyers that effectively addresses the issue. H.R. 676 expands Medicare to cover all citizens.

The scope of the healthcare crisis in America is huge. It has very serious economic and moral implications. It is crippling our nation in terms of protecting American manufacturing, competing in the global economy and undermines our national security. It reflects badly on us as a just and moral society. It is literally killing Americans in huge numbers.

The number of Americans without health insurance is currently 47 million and growing rapidly. The number of underinsured Americans is much larger than the number of uninsured Americans. In America, over half of all personal bankruptcies are the direct result of medical crises. Over half of those bankruptcies are from individuals who had health insurance when their medical crises started.

Industry friendly studies of the number of Americans who died because they had no health insurance place the number at around 50 per week. The number is absurdly low and illogical.

Doing without healthcare at any point in life for a significant period of time will likely create health issues and physical damage. This damage accumulates over a lifetime and shortens your lifespan. You die younger than you would have if you had always had adequate healthcare. You might die at 70 instead of 85. In addition, the last years might have much lower levels of quality. Since most people die after reaching the age where Medicare coverage is already in effect, those deaths are not counted as resulting from a lack of healthcare insurance although they can be directly traced to an earlier lack of coverage. Most of the deaths resulting from a lack of healthcare insurance are thus concealed.

Even using the fraudulent 50 per week figure, killing Americans to preserve the profits of HMO’s and insurance companies is completely immoral. Bankrupting Americans because of illness is a national disgrace. It does not happen in other industrialized nations. Out of the top 75 most industrialized nations in the world, only in the United States are citizens not provided by their government with universal healthcare.

In the United States, we saddle our businesses and corporations with the cost of providing for the healthcare needs of their employees. Our international competitors do not. This is one of the major reasons why good paying manufacturing and service sector jobs are leaving our nation. It is economic suicide.

None of the Band-Aid approaches advocated by the top Democratic Presidential candidates deal effectively with the trade implications of healthcare policy. I am personally supporting Edwards because he is more inclined to advance fair and balanced trade agreements than Clinton and Obama. For example, Clinton and Obama supported the most recent “so-called free trade” agreement with Peru while Edwards did not. However, even Edwards has not yet addressed the clear connection between international trade and healthcare.

The best solution for providing universal healthcare is expanding Medicare to cover all American citizens. Medicare is a proven program. It is popular and cost-effective. Our current private system has much higher levels of overhead costs than does Medicare. The only inefficient aspects of Medicare are the “privatized” programs added by the Bush White House and their Republican allies in the Senate. Medicare has been hugely successful despite ongoing Republican and corporate attempts to undermine it.

We can count on Republican politicians to label any move toward universal healthcare as “socialized medicine.” They attempted mightily to destroy Medicare in the past using such tactics and failed completely. Politically, providing universal healthcare by expanding Medicare will be much easier than any other approach.

The private, profit-drive healthcare system is terribly unfair and inefficient. We spend 17 percent of our total economy on healthcare while our international competitors spend only 8 percent. They cover everyone and we do not. The numbers speak for themselves!

Expanding Medicare to cover everyone will not prevent citizens from buying supplemental healthcare if they can afford it. It will greatly help doctors who are General Practitioners by making medical need become effective demand. It will help hospitals by removing the burden of providing healthcare to those who cannot pay for it. It will make our workers healthier and more productive.

There must be a grassroots movement built behind “Medicare For All.” Local activists, union leaders, businesses and politicians must all exert their efforts in a common movement. Most national union organizations and state AFL-CIO organizations are supporting H.R. 676. They are joined by many members of Congress. The legislation has 89 co-sponsors with more being added frequently. Many candidates are backing it!

Local leaders are already getting organized all over the nation. People like Amos B. McCluney, Jr. in Delaware and Alena Bandy in Maryland are actively organizing Medicare For All state chapters. Both leaders are grassroots Democratic activists with roots in the United Auto Workers. Both are reaching out into the community recruiting civil rights leaders, churches, community organizations and local politicians behind H.R. 676. They are not alone. I personally have talked with local activists from Tennessee, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and several other states who are working on building support for this legislation.

Pressure must be placed on all opinion leaders to support Medicare For All. Presidential, Senatorial and Congressional candidates should be pressured to support H.R. 676. All candidates should be placed on record that they would not veto Medicare For All nor place legislative obstacles in the way of passing H.R. 676, even if they do not actively support passage. Candidates failing to make such public pledges should not be supported by any American citizen.

Average Americans must reframe the debate over healthcare. Instead of calling for universal healthcare or single-payer healthcare, we should simplify the debate. We should be calling for “Medicare For All” and supporting H.R. 676.

Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com and Editor of Mid-Atlantic Labor.com http://www.midatlanticlabor.com ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: midsouthcm@aol.com . Phone: 443-907-2367.

Feel free to publish without prior approval.

6 comments so far

Democratic Congressional candidate Frank Kratovil in Maryland’s 1st District has publicly stated he supports H.R. 676. I hope potential donors will help him raise campaign funds on this basis. It would be great if we had dozens of new members of Congress elected in part because they support Medicare For All via H.R. 676.

ILLINOIS TEACHERS UNIONS ENDORSE HR 676

Chicago, Illinois. Rejecting a “band-aid approach” to healthcare, the
University Professionals of Illinois, AFT Local 4100, endorsed HR 676,
single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers
(D-Mich).

“Beyond the fact that 46 or 47 million uninsured Americans are forced to
play Texas Hold ‘Em with their health care, nearly a third of our health
care dollars supports private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork. That’s
not health care. That’s waste,” said Sue Kaufman, UPI Local 4100
president.

AFT local 4100 represents faculty and staff in 12 chapters at seven public
universities in Illinois. It is affiliated with the Illinois Federation
of Teachers, the American Federation of Teachers, and the AFL-CIO. The
Executive Board of the 3,000 member local unanimously approved the
endorsement on December 1.

Another AFT affiliated group, the Illinois Federation of Teachers
Universities Council, also endorsed HR 676.
30#

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

HR 676 would cover every person in the U. S. for all necessary medical
care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient
services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental
health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for
substance abuse), vision care, chiropractic and long term care. HR 676
ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save billions annually by
eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance
industry and HMOs.

HR 676 currently has 87 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers. Co-sponsors
and bill text are here:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.00676:

HR 676 has been endorsed by 345 union organizations in 48 states including
94 Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations and 29 state AFL-CIOs
(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).

For further information, a list of union endorsers, or a sample
endorsement resolution, contact:

Kay Tillow
All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care## HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551
Email: nursenpo@aol.com

Here is an excellent website on the subject http://www.medicareforall.net

Two Michigan Locals Endorse HR 676

Two more Michigan local unions have endorsed HR 676, single payer
healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

In Alma, Michigan, United Steelworkers Local 2-540 is the latest USW
District 2 local union to endorse HR 676.

In Roseville, Michigan, Vice President Michael Sheridan of the South
Macomb Letter Carriers Branch 4374 of the National Association of Letter
Carriers (NALC) announced that his union also endorsed the Conyers
legislation.
#30#

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

HR 676 would cover every person in the U. S. for all necessary medical
care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient
services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental
health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for
substance abuse), vision care, chiropractic and long term care. HR 676
ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save billions annually by
eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance
industry and HMOs.

HR 676 currently has 87 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers. Co-sponsors
and bill text are here:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.00676:

HR 676 has been endorsed by 347 union organizations in 48 states including
94 Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations and 29 state AFL-CIOs
(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).

For further information, a list of union endorsers, or a sample
endorsement resolution, contact:

Kay Tillow
All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care## HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551
Email: nursenpo@aol.com
01/3/08

FOUR UNIONS IN THREE STATES ENDORSE HR 676

In Charleston, South Carolina, Local 502, Coastal Carolina Association of
Professional Musicians (AFM) endorsed HR 676, single payer health care
legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

Tom Joyce, Local 502 Secretary-Treasurer said, “Local 502 AFM recognizes
the need for health care reform in the U.S., and HR 676 is the best option
to move this reform forward.”

In El Segundo, California, the Executive Board of Transport Workers Union
(TWU) Local 564 voted to endorse HR 676, reports Vice President Mark
Rasco. The local represents American Airlines workers at airports in a
number of western states.

In Louisville, Kentucky, Allen Harris, President of Branch 14 of the
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), reports the union endorsed
HR 676 and sent letters to all six Kentucky congressmen and one in nearby
Indiana informing them of the local’s action.

In San Francisco, California, the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific endorsed
HR 676, reports Dave Connolly. The union, in continuous operation for
over 121 years, dates back to March 6, 1885 when the Coast Seamen’s Union
was organized by sailors on the San Francisco waterfront.
#30#

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

HR 676 would cover every person in the U. S. for all necessary medical
care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient
services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental
health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for
substance abuse), vision care, chiropractic and long term care. HR 676
ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save billions annually by
eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance
industry and HMOs.

HR 676 currently has 87 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers. Co-sponsors
and bill text are here:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.00676:

HR 676 has been endorsed by 353 union organizations in 48 states including
94 Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations and 30 state AFL-CIOs
(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).

For further information, a list of union endorsers, or a sample
endorsement resolution, contact:

Kay Tillow
All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care## HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551
Email: nursenpo@aol.com
01/10/08

Alabama AFL-CIO Convention Endorses HR 676

Mobile, Alabama. Delegates to the Twenty-Sixth Biennial Convention of
the Alabama AFL-CIO endorsed HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation
introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

In a letter informing the national AFL-CIO of this convention action,
Alabama AFL-CIO President D. S. Burkhalter said: “This resolution
recognizes that the Alabama AFL-CIO is in support of HR 676, Single Payer
Universal Health Care.”

The Alabama state AFL-CIO is the 31st state federation to endorse the
Conyers legislation.



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