From Friday, October 30th until Sunday, November 1st in Chicago, Illinois, the largest-ever national conference of single-payer/Medicare for All health care advocates will convene.
The conference is jointly sponsored by the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, Healthcare Now, One Payer States and the Physicians for a National Health Program.
The conference will begin Friday afternoon with a demonstration in front of a (not to be named) office building of a notorious health care company profiteer.
That evening presentations will be made by the national president of the Steelworkers Union (Leo Gerard) and the national president of the National Nurses Union (Jean Ross). Musical entertainment will be provided by labor singer/songwriter Anne Feeney.
This conference could not come at a more crucial time. It has been five years since the passage into law of the ACA (“Affordable” Care Act), otherwise known as Obamacare, and an increasing number of people have realized that the ACA has NOT solved our nation’s healthcare problems.
Since the ACA relies on private for-profit insurance, millions of Americans will remain without health care, pay more for less health insurance coverage and face financial stress including bankruptcy. And, because the ACA continues to depend on employment-based coverage to provide the majority of health insurance, while perversely undermining key aspects of that coverage, the ACA places new stresses and pressures on the ability of unions to negotiate adequate healthcare benefits for their members, retirees and families.
This crisis intensifies the difficulties of ALL workers struggling to survive in today’s predatory economic environment. Shifting the cost of health care onto workers under the current profit-driven system is NOT the solution. For the vast majority of workers without a union, the situation is even more desperate. A publicly financed single payer national health care system like those in EVERY industrialized country in the world is the ONLY solution that will control costs, improve quality of care and guarantee that NOBODY is denied healthcare.
The inclusion of private insurance companies and for-profit health care in our country’s health care system is THE problem, which the Affordable Care Act expanded. For-profit health care companies’ interests are counter to and destructive of the well-being and health of a vast majority of the residents of our country. Health care needs to be a human right, NOT a luxury.
To this end, the Labor Campaign for Single Payer was launched in 2009 to ensure that Labor leads the fight for Medicare for all/single payer for ALL Americans.
In addition to the ongoing organizing campaign within organized Labor, to get union locals, central labor councils and national unions to commit resources, the Labor Campaign for Single Payer works with other single payer organizations at the state and national level. At the national level the efforts have been focused on getting more U.S. Congress people to sign on to Democratic Representative John Conyers of Michigan’s HR 676 single payer healthcare bill, as well as Bernie Sander’s version of the same bill in the U.S. Senate. Organizing in individual States has been where the real battle has been taking place. Efforts have moved along significantly in Vermont, New York State, New Jersey, California, Oregon, Washington state and Minnesota with the drafting, submitting and passing of individual state single payer healthcare bills.
By having the national conference of Labor Campaign for Single Payer in Chicago, the organizers are hoping to jump-start an Illinois statewide campaign for a “state health care is a human right” movement and an eventual single payer health care bill in Illinois .
If you as an individual or your union/organization is interested in attending, please contact Dave at 217-721-0583.