Chattanooga Area Labor Council is 150th Council to endorse HR 676 : Retirees for Single Payer Health Care Blog
Who We Are
In My Opinion Blog
Healthcare For All
Expand Medicaid
Everybody In
Michigan & You
This Is Healthcare
Healthcare Science
Vote In 2018
Facebook Page
Facebook Group
Medicare For All
Newsletter Archive
Contact Us

Chattanooga Area Labor Council is 150th Council to endorse HR 676

by 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 forefront.”

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

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).

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 


Kay Tillow, All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care – HR 676, Louisville, KY

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

This is your page not ours.  Feel free to share your experiences, information, announcements and anything else you want to say in support of National Health Care (HR 676).  The only requirements are your name, organization, city and state

To share your opinion simply type IN MY OPINION in the subject and email it to us at:  
Retirees for Single Payer Health Care

Subscribe to the Healthcare For All Newsletter

Email & Social Media Marketing by VerticalResponse
Email this page
Medicare For All 
(HR 676)

Everybody In, Nobody Out Health Care - Gives every resident of the United States and the U.S. Territories access to all medically necessary health care services, including vision and dental as well long term care with no copays or deductibles regardless of employment, income or health status.  Private insurance companies may not duplicate coverage under this bill.

Non-Profit Health Care - Converts all healthcare providers to a not-for-profit service where illness is no longer a source of wealth for a few.

Single Payer Health Care – Medicare today is a social insurance program for those 65 or older and the disabled under 65.  Medicare for All improves and extends that social insurance program to all of us. This gives us all the collective ability to control the out of control costs of the healthcare industry in this country.  Pays for that expanded coverage by maintaining the present level of federal government revenues for Health Care as well as increasing personal income taxes on the top 5 percent income earners, instituting a modest and progressive tax on payroll and self-employment income, on unearned income, and on stock and bond transactions.


“People need to believe that social change is possible.  If they think their only option is to exchange one oppressor for another, they will usually choose to accept their victimization and try to make the best of it.  That is why counter institutions are so important, because they are living demonstrations that better social relationships are possible and within our grasp.  They are possible because, besides the seeds of the oppressor within us, we also have the seeds of mutual liberation within us, the instincts of cooperation, of sharing, democracy, equality, extended family.”  John Curl, Poet
‘There was no formal interview like I imagined but the day turned out to be even better.  There was lots of gumbo ya-ya about politics then (60s) and now with a bunch of us sitting around a conference table eating what had to be KFC.  There were a few people there from a group called Retirees for Single Payer Healthcare, most of whom were north of 60.  They spent a good 15 minutes arguing what commerce would look like in a post capitalist society as if this new arrangement was coming next month and they were teenagers planning out the rest of their lives.  It was a freedom dream in motion with General Baker at the helm – a powerful lesson in hope.’  Robyn Spencer, from “Rest in Power, General Baker”