Chattanooga Area Labor Council is 150th Council to endorse HR 676by In My Opinion on 05/05/15
Chattanooga Area Labor Council is 150th Council to endorse HR 676
April 7, 2015
The Chattanooga Area Labor Council endorsed
HR 676 at its regular monthly meeting March 23, 2015, reports Gary Watlkins,
Council President. HR 676 is the national single payer health care
legislation sponsored by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). The bill
currently has 48 co-sponsors including Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis,Tennessee.
“If passed, HR 676 would remove a great
impediment to contract negotiations,” said Watkins in an interview with the All
Unions Committee for Single Payer HR676. “I think employees would realize
great improvements in their health and finances and at the same time employers
would be the beneficiaries of a better educated and healthier and more
productive work force. If everybody had health insurance, everybody would
have a better opportunity at education,” Watkins continued.
Earlier in the year, Dr. Laura Helfman of Physicians
for a National Health Program, made a single payer health care presentation
to an open meeting of the labor council at Local 175 IBEW, President Watkins’
home local. Dr. Helfman practices Emergency Medicine at Children's
Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga and lives in Coalmont. Her father and
grandfather both were proud members of the IBEW.
In addition to union delegates and allied
organizations, State Representative JoAnne Favors attended the meeting.
With her background in nursing and her concern for health care, she expressed
her thanks for the program and her support for the Conyers bill.
During the lively discussion period following
the talk, many council delegates spoke of their current difficulty in
bargaining for and maintaining health care for members and families.
President Watkins expressed his thanks “for
bringing such a great informational program to us,” and added, “We look forward
to working with you and other leaders in bringing this legislation to the
Chattanooga is the 5th labor
council in Tennessee and the 150th in the nation to endorse HR
676. Other Tennessee councils that have endorsed are located in
Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville-Oak Ridge, and Jackson.
Dr. Art Sutherland, a Tennessee cardiologist and Board Member of Physicians for a National Health Program, has offered to provide a single payer presentation to any Tennessee union that requests it, and the national PNHP can offer the same to unions across the country. Requests can be emailed to Kay Tillow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a greatly
improved Medicare to everyone residing in the U. S. Patients will choose
their own physicians and hospitals.
HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery, periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care and correction, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care.
HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of
billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private
health insurance industry and HMOs.
In the current Congress, HR 676 has 48 co-sponsors in addition to Congressman Conyers.
HR 676 has been endorsed by 618 union organizations including 150 Central Labor Councils/Area Labor Federations and 44 state AFL-CIO's (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, AL, CA, AK, MI, MT, NE, NJ, NY, NV, MA, RI, NH, ID & NM).
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217