Universal Health Care Revived in Congress

From Union City–Health care for every American got a boost yesterday when labor leaders and activists announced support for the American Health Security Act, a single-payer, universal health care system. “At a time when states and cities are seeking to cut workers’ hard won benefits, the American Health Security Act will level the playing field,” said Metro Council President Jos Williams, who joined AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker, National Nurses United co-president Jean Ross (center) and bill co-sponsors Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt., right) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash., left) at a Capitol Hill press conference. “Providing a single standard of high-quality care for all is a priority for registered nurses,” declared Ross, a working Registered Nurse in Minnesota, adding that it’s increasingly difficult for nurses to act effectively as patient advocates “as for-profit interests control more patient care decisions.” Sanders called the fight for universal health care “the civil rights battle of our time” and Holt Baker, noting that “the labor movement have long insisted that health care is a fundamental human right and an important measure of social justice,” added that “for more than 100 years, we have fought for universal health care coverage based on a social insurance model, an approach that has proven to be cost-effective and efficient in countries across the globe and in this country to provide health security for seniors.” South Carolina AFL-CIO President Donna Dewitt – a member of theLabor Campaign for Single Payer which has been coordinating grassroots labor support for single payer health care – called the American Health Security Act “a bill that all of organized labor can get behind.” – photo by Adam Wright