Archive for the ‘single payer’ Category

Health care has been one of the major issues of this current presidential campaign. Minnesota Central, a frequent visitor to Corner House comments, has left a comment about one of my previous posts which mentioned this issue and H. R. 676. Introduced by Representative John Conyers (D), of Michigan, HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system in the U.S. by expanding a greatly improved Medicare system to every resident.

A recent email from Unions for a Single Payer described H. R. 676 as this:
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 88 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers. Currently, the only member of the Minnesota congressional delegation that I am aware of to sign on as a co-sponsor is Rep. Keith Ellison, (DFL) from the 5th CD.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 367 union organizations in 48 states including
95 Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations and 32 state
MN, ME, AR, MD-DC, TX, IA, AZ, TN, OR, GA, OK, KS, CO, IN, AL & CA). The Minnesota AFL-CIO is one of the state federations that has passed a resolution of support.

UPDATE: 02/10/2008: additional endorsers of HR676 in Minnesota include: Duluth Central Labor Body/AFL-CIO, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Southern Dakota County Labor Council/ AFL-CIO, Apple Valley, MN, Minnesota State Council of Machinists, IAMAW, Vandais Heights, MN, Council 5, AFSCME, St. Paul, MN,  and United Steelworkers (USW) Region 10 (which includes Minnesota).

Jason over at IDHA takes a look at the issue and the recent recommendations from the Minnesota’s task force appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty.

It is always good to have thoughtful dialogue about the issues but I think we have about maxed out on dialogue, task forces, and commissions. The health care system is not a crisis, it is a disaster! Conyers’s H. R. 676 is ready to act on whenever our political leaders decide to stop talking and start passing legislation.

Contact your representatives and tell them to support H. R. 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act.

Peace & solidarity,


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Transit workers in Sioux Falls, South Dakota face an uncertain future as the deadline of their contract with Laidlaw Transit Services, Inc. is set to expire. Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1356 have been working under an extension of their old contract since March of 2006 and recently voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. It comes as no surprise to me that the major item of contention is over health insurance. Laidlaw’s last, best offer would make employees pay a share of their insurance premium. In the previous contract the company paid the entire premium. Workers would see a net loss in their paychecks because the meager pay increases would not cover the premium hike. Read the Argus Leader story here.

Laidlaw claims that insurance premiums have increased 32 percent in the last year and I have no evidence to dispute that figure. Rising health care costs is a national crisis and yet many of our elected officials drag their feet on finding a solution. More and more people are forced to go without insurance or see smaller paychecks. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) has introduced H.R. 676, The United States National Health Insurance Act. It would establish a publicly financed, privately delivered single payer health care system based on expanding and improving Medicare.

Time will tell how this labor dispute will play out but it is almost certain it will happen again and again all over the country until ‘we the people’ demand an end to inaction and adoption of a single payer system. Take action here.

Peace & solidarity,


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