A resource in the fight for single-payer health care

Just what is The United States National Health Insurance Act, HR 676, introduced into Congress by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)?

The brief answer is that it is a proposed law in Congress to extend enhanced “Medicare to All,” creating — finally — a single-payer health system providing all Americans with comprehensive health care and lowering medical costs for 95 percent of households.

“It would be publicly financed health care, privately delivered, and will put patients and doctors back in control of the system,” says Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). “Coverage will be more complete than private insurance plans; encourage prevention; and include prescription drugs, dental care, mental health care, and alternative and complementary medicine.”

If enacted, the bill would guarantee medically necessary services for everyone, at no cost. By eliminating much of the health insurance bureaucracy and profits, the national cost of health insurance would be significantly decreased. Currently, under our for-profit system, the U.S. spends more than other countries per patient, but is ranked only 37th in health care service worldwide.

While there is not enough space here to fully explain the bill, or single-payer health care in general, it is all fully explained in “Medicare For All!” a pamphlet written by B.S. Rosen, illustrated by Peggy Lipshutz, and published by this paper.

Of course, with Republican ultra-right control of the Congress, it is extremely difficult for such a bill to become law, and the only way to gain traction for it is to build a nationwide movement. This is just what labor, health care and community activists have done.

Well over 100 hundred union locals, state and central labor councils have passed resolutions of support for HR 676, which are now listed in the back of the “Medicare for All” booklet’s new edition. The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, representing 900,000 workers, recently endorsed the bill. It already has 72 backers in the House.

Across the country, union activists are pushing their locals to do the same. In addition, church groups, doctors, health care advocates and many others are becoming involved in the fight.

This newspaper is part of that fight—that’s why it recently ran a second printing of the “Medicare for All!” pamphlet.

“The People’s Weekly World,” says the introduction, “offers this booklet as part of the struggle for affordable and accessible health care for working families and all Americans.”

PWW Editor Terrie Albano said there were two reasons for the publication. Though the paper has been covering the growing movement around the bill, she said, there is not enough space each week to explain it fully. She added, “We also want to expose the profit motive behind the lack of decent, affordable health care in this country.”

Another reason, Albano said, “is to be part of the national fight for health care. It’s a huge crisis in our country. More than 45 million people are without health insurance — many of them are children. It’s a national disgrace that we have such a situation in a country as rich as ours.”

The World encourages everyone to order the pamphlet so they may fully understand the bill and single-payer health care in general. Just as importantly, the World is encouraging its use as a tool to help get resolutions passed in support of HR 676 in unions, churches, community groups, city councils and elsewhere. For this purpose, “Medicare for All!” includes a sample resolution.







MEDICARE FOR ALL!

A lively pamphlet about the history and status of the struggle for universal health care, particularly the single-payer plan (HR 676, “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act”) advocated by Reps. John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Jim McDermott and 69 others. Written by B.S. Rosen, a health care activist; illustrated by Peggy Lipschutz. Softcover, 36 pp., $1.00.

To obtain a copy, write People’s Weekly World Attn: Medicare for All 235 W. 23rd St., New York NY 10011

or call (212) 924-2523, ext. 363, or e-mail pww@pww.org.

Add $1 for shipping and handling. For bulk orders, please inquire.