Supporting Sen. Sanders Medicare for All Act, Continuing the Fight for Healthcare Justice

Resolution passed by Vermont State Labor Council's 2017 convention:

Whereas: Healthcare in the United States remains a national disgrace with the highest costs in the world, ranking 26th in infant mortality and 31st in life expectancy with nearly 28 million Americans having no coverage at all, and millions more having such meager coverage that a single major medical event will push them into bankruptcy; and

Whereas: These high costs have helped to sustain a climate of concessionary bargaining, pushing down wages, causing bitter strikes and lockouts, triggering attacks on public sector workers and retirees and shifting more and more of the costs onto the backs of workers; and

Whereas: The cost of healthcare coverage continues to rise, and workers pay a higher share of the costs and more for coverage; and

Whereas: All other industrialized countries provide comprehensive coverage to all citizens as a fundamental human right, putting U.S. manufacturing employers and workers at a global competitive disadvantage; and
Whereas: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been supported as a preliminary step because it improves access to healthcare for millions of Americans. Republican attempts to "repeal and replace" are thinly disguised attempts to deprive 22 million Americans of their healthcare in order to finance tax cuts for the 1%, and undermine public health programs. But, under the ACA, 28 million remain uninsured, and profit continues to drive healthcare policy; and

Whereas: The ACA poses significant challenges to our unions’ ability to negotiate decent coverage for their members and families by undermining non-profit union-sponsored health and welfare funds and increasing “race to the bottom” pressures through tiered benefits and the so-called “Cadillac” excise tax; and

Whereas: Medicare for All is not only the most ethical option on the table, but also the most pragmatic and economically sustainable. Senator Sanders Medicare for All Act of 2017 is a game changer, and support for the House bill, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act (H.R. 676, endorsed by over 1,000 national, regional, and local unions, state labor federations and central labor councils) has surged; and

Whereas: A single-payer, Medicare for All healthcare program would be a powerful alternative to the austerity policies being foisted on America’s workers because economists have determined that the entire federal budget deficit would be eliminated if the U.S. spent per capita on healthcare what any other industrialized nation that treats healthcare as a human right spends; and

Whereas: The Vermont State Labor Council has been a long time supporter of single payer Medicare for All, and helped to launch the Labor Campaign for Single Payer which advocates for the labor movement to lead the fight for healthcare justice; now

Therefore Be It Resolved: That the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO joins with Senator Sanders and our allies to advance the Medicare for All Act of 2017, to advocate, educate and mobilize hundreds of thousands of Vermonters and millions of Americans for healthcare justice and for a single-payer system that will make healthcare a birthright for everyone in America, through a publicly financed healthcare system that provides comprehensive benefits and a single standard of care in a system where healthcare decisions are made by patients and their caregivers, not by corporate and government bureaucrats, and where scarce healthcare resources are not squandered by profiteers, marketing and excessive administrative costs; and

Therefore Be It Resolved: That the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO  encourage our affiliated unions to join the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, and that we continue to educate our members about the nature of the healthcare crisis, the importance of the single-payer solution, it’s role in relieving the liability for retiree healthcare costs, and in reducing the cost of coverage for all workers and their families; and

Be It Finally Resolved: That the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO supports and urges our federal and state legislators to enact legislation that embodies the principles of a single payer Medicare-for-All system; that we call on Governor Phil Scott to prioritize the health and well-being of all Vermonters by standing up for national Medicare for All. And that we urge our union and community allies to make such legislation a priority in all state and federal electoral efforts.

Submitted for consideration to the September convention of the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO by the Green Mountain Labor Council, AFL-CIO