Labor Calls for Health Care Reform


8-08-07, 9:41 am

Health Care Reform August 07, 2007 Chicago AFL-CIO Executive Council statement

Working families are deeply concerned about their health care coverage, especially the health care costs that are major contributors to the eroding standard of living for middle-class Americans.

Labor Day 2008 will mark the beginning of a renewed effort by the AFL-CIO to win reform at the national level that protects existing hard-won union benefits and extends coverage to all Americans.

The goal of this effort will be to win universal, quality health care for all of America by making the 2008 elections a mandate on health care reform and electing a president and Congress pledged to that end.

We will do this by engaging with unions to mobilize a massive working families army and helping to build a broad progressive alliance committed to establishing high-quality health care for all.

We will launch the campaign on Labor Day, joining it with our ongoing efforts to restore workers’ freedom to form unions and bargain collectively through passage of the Employee Free Choice Act and the new AFL-CIO program to win An Economy that Works for All.

The first phase of our work will be to support reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Congress passed SCHIP bills earlier this month with strong bipartisan support, but President Bush is threatening to veto the legislation. Differences between the House and Senate versions need to be reconciled. But the most important objective is renewing the program with sufficient funding to make up ground in children's health care coverage that has been lost because of the continued erosion of employment-based benefits and the administration's negligence. Anything less is indefensible, and we must help make it publicly intolerable.

Elements of the AFL-CIO health care reform campaign will include:

* Education of union members and their families about the necessity for federal action to preserve their hard-won benefits; * Mobilization of union members to participate in the 2008 elections and demand that candidates for federal office support comprehensive health care reform; * Recruiting employers to support health care reform; * Linking national health care reform to the important reform work at the state level; and * Working with progressive organizations to establish a broad alliance for reform.


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