Florida unions back single payer health care

  1. Major Breakthrough in Health Care
    Florida Unions Back Single Payer Healthcare

    The Florida AFL-CIO unanimously approved a resolution
    supporting a statewide initiative in support of a
    single-payer health care system. The resolution is
    reproduced below in text and is also attached.

    ***********************************************

    RESOLUTIONS

    Resolution #32 Committee
    Referred: Political Action

    UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE

    WHEREAS: Working people in Florida face a
    continuing crisis in the accessibility to and
    affordability of health care. After a 12% increase
    this year, health insurance rates are predicted to
    jump by 15-25% over the next 2 years (Florida Times
    Union, September 6, 2001) with no end in sight; and

    WHEREAS: Our raises are eaten up by these
    increases as employers pass on the rising costs. For
    example, our union, AFSCME, negotiated a 3% pay
    increase for State University System employees this
    year but we face a 15% increase in our health insurance
    premiums at the University of Florida; and

    WHEREAS: Due to the current system of job-based
    insurance, our unions have to spend more and more time
    bargaining for healthcare benefits, employers use
    health insurance as a threat to keep us from organizing
    or exercising our rights on the job, and striking or
    locked-out workers face the added pressure of losing
    their family coverage; and

    WHEREAS: The Florida AFL-CIO "2001 Legislative
    Priorities" states "Health care legislation that
    provides both availability and patient protection for
    all citizens of Florida is a priority for the Florida
    AFL-CIO. We will continue to fight for such basic
    rights" and a national AFL-CIO 1999 resolution stated
    "We think that ultimately the only answer to the
    nation's health care crisis is universal coverage";
    and

    WHEREAS: Poll after poll - including a November
    2000 non-binding referendum in Alachua County, led by
    the Alachua County Labor Party, which got 65% of the
    vote - shows Floridians want a universal health care
    system that eliminates the role of private insurance
    companies and HMOs; and

    WHEREAS: For the purpose of this resolution,
    universal health care means the State of Florida
    contracts with health care providers in Florida to
    provide all necessary health care to all Floridians
    (also known as "single-payer"); and

    WHEREAS: Universal health care would actually
    cost MUCH LESS than the private insurance system we
    have now and would include benefits for the entire
    family, access to quality health care whether you have
    a job or not, complete choice of doctors, hospitals and
    other providers, and no bills, paperwork or out-of-
    pocket expenses; and

    WHEREAS: The Alachua County Labor Party
    proposes to reassemble a coalition to win universal
    health care in Florida by encouraging nonbinding
    referenda on county ballots in 2002 and a universal
    health care constitutional amendment on the 2004
    statewide ballot; and

    WHEREAS: Such a campaign to win universal health
    care in Florida will help get out the union and working
    people's vote in the pivotal 2002 and 2004 elections;
    and

    WHEREAS: A victory on a universal health care
    constitutional amendment in 2004 would be like a win at
    every bargaining table across the state of Florida; and

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Florida
    AFL-CIO and its affiliates strongly support the
    Alachua County Labor Party's efforts to encourage
    nonbinding referenda on universal health care on
    ballots in several Florida counties for the 2002
    elections.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Florida AFL-CIO
    and its affiliates strongly support the Alachua County
    Labor Party's efforts to build a campaign to place a
    universal health care constitutional amendment on the
    2004 Florida ballot.

    BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Florida AFL-CIO
    encourages all affiliated unions and bodies to actively
    join in this effort. That involvement would include,
    but not be limited to, helping to collect a portion of
    the 480,000 signatures required to put the
    constitutional amendment on the 2004 ballot.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Mark Piotrowski, Secretary, AFSCME
    3340 Sharon Bauer, President,
    AFSCME 3340 Candace Churchill,
    Secretary, Graduate Assistants
    United - FEA Larry Thompson,
    AFSCME 3038
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Florida unions back single payer health care