This resolution was approved unanimously September 14th at 2008 Vermont State Labor Council Convention:


Submitted by: Washington-Orange-Lamoille and Champlain Valley Central Labor Councils & UAW Local 1981

WHEREAS, workers, their families and their unions are waging an increasingly difficult struggle to win or to keep good health care coverage.

WHEREAS, almost every union at every contract deadline must battle and sacrifice merely to sustain health care benefits. The rising costs of health insurance are blocking workers’ progress in wages and other areas. All of our unions face a healthcare crisis. But the crisis extends far beyond union members. Nearly 50 million people in the United States are currently without health insurance. More than 75 million went without health coverage for some length of time within the last two years, and millions more have inadequate coverage, or are at risk of losing coverage.

WHEREAS, while we in the United States spend approximately twice as much of our gross domestic product as other developed nations on health care, we remain the only industrialized country without universal coverage. Even though we spend far more per capita, we lag behind our international peers in terms of quality, health attainment, and over-all health system performance. We spend more and get less. Our problem worsens each year as insurance costs increase and gradual solutions have failed to make a dent in the problem.

WHEREAS, the U.S. health system continues to treat health care as a commodity distributed according to the ability to pay, rather than as a social service to be distributed according to human need. Insurance companies and HMOs compete not by increasing quality or lowering costs, but by avoiding covering those whose needs are greatest.

WHEREAS, people of color, immigrants and women are denied care at disproportionate rates, while the elderly and many others must choose between necessities and life sustaining drugs and care. Unorganized workers have either no coverage or inadequate coverage. The Institute of Medicine has found that each year more than 18,000 in the U.S. die because they had no health insurance.

WHEREAS, economic necessity and moral conscience compel us to seek a better way.

WHEREAS, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) (joined by 91 cosponsors, including Rep. Peter Welch) has introduced HR 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act, also called Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. This single-payer health care program proposes an effective mechanism for controlling skyrocketing health costs while covering all Americans. The bill also restores free choice of physicians to patients and provides comprehensive prescription drug coverage to seniors, as well as to younger people.

WHEREAS, 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 high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs. The transition to national health insurance would apply the savings from administration and profits to expanded and improved coverage for all.

WHEREAS, a single payer program as provided by HR 676 is the only affordable option for universal, comprehensive coverage.

 that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO reaffirms our September 2006 Convention’s support for HR 676, “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All,” a single payer health care program, as currently written.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will work with other Labor Organizations and community groups to build a groundswell of popular support and action for single payer universal health care until we make what is morally right into what is also politically possible.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will send a copy of this resolution to Congressman Conyers and to the AFL-CIO Executive Council.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will take other actions to mobilize our members and our community at the grassroots, including urging our affiliates to work with the Vermont Workers Center’s Healthcare is a Human Right campaign.