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Labor council, plumbers local in Alabama endorse H.R. 676

Actions bring total labor organization endorsements to 600 nationwide

By Kay Tillow

On April 15, the Northeast Alabama Labor Council in Gadsden endorsed H.R. 676, national single-payer health care legislation sponsored by Congressman John Conyers.

President Garry “Gabby” Frost brought the resolution before the council in response to an appeal from the All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care – H.R. 676 and from Pippa Abston, M.D., Ph.D., a board member of Physicians for a National Health Program and a Huntsville, Ala., pediatrician.

“Health care is a necessity not a privilege,” said President Frost after the adoption of the resolution for H.R. 676. “Everybody’s got to have it. This is the only industrialized nation that does not have it.”

The Northeast Alabama Labor Council is the 145th Central Labor Council to endorse H.R. 676. The council represents workers in nine counties: Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Cleburne, DeKalb, Etowah, Marshall, Randolph, and St. Clair. The Southwest Alabama Labor Council in Mobile and the Alabama State AFL-CIO had previously endorsed H.R. 676.

President Frost, who is the business manager of Local 498, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, reports that Local 498 has also endorsed H.R. 676. That brings the total of union organizations that have endorsed H.R. 676 to 600.

Dr. Pippa Abston commented on the importance of these union endorsements of H.R. 676. She said, “As an Alabama physician and Physicians for a National Health Program board member, I am thrilled to hear this news! Medicare for All is an achievable, practical way to address our health care needs and would go a long way towards relieving our state’s constant budget struggles. Thank you to our friends in Labor for helping bring H.R. 676 a step closer to success.”

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H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, would institute a single-payer health care system by expanding a greatly improved Medicare to everyone residing in the U.S.

H.R. 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery, periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care and correction, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long-term care.

H.R. 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. H.R. 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

In the current Congress, H.R. 676 has 41 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers.

H.R. 676 has been endorsed by 600 union organizations including 145 Central Labor Councils/Area Labor Federations and 41 state AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT, OH, DE, ND, WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, NC, MO, MN, ME, AR, MD-DC, TX, IA, AZ, TN, OR, GA, OK, KS, CO, IN, AL, CA, AK, MI, MT, NE, NJ, NY, NV, MA & RI).

For further information, a list of union endorsers, or a sample endorsement resolution, contact:

Kay Tillow, All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care—H.R. 676, c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO), 1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218, Louisville KY 40217. Phone: (502) 636 1551; e-mail: nursenpo@aol.com; website: http://unionsforsinglepayer.org