Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

Archive for April, 2009

Borough of Ambridge, PA Urges Congress to Pass HR 676 – Single Payer National Healthcare

Posted by randyshannon on April 30, 2009

Ambridge Council

Ambridge Council

by Randy Shannon

Ambridge Borough Council recently passed a resolution endorsing single payer healthcare and calling on Congress to enact HR 676. A copy of the resolution is to be forwarded to all Pennsylvania representatives in the US Congress.

Ambridge was founded in 1905 by the American Bridge Company on the site of land formerly owned by the Harmonist Society. The structural steel for many of the great bridges in the USA was made in Ambridge. Ambridge was a key battleground in the struggles that led to the founding of the CIO and of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee. Ambridge has experienced a severe economic downturn since the decline of the steel industry began in the 1980’s, and is struggling to survive in the new economic crisis.

The Borough currently pays out over $391,000 per year in medical insurance premiums. Under HR 676 the Borough’s healthcare expenses would be reduced to the mandated 5.95% payroll tax, or just under $77,000 per year. National Healthcare would save Ambridge Borough about $26,000 per month in healthcare insurance premiums.

Ambridge Mayor “Buzzy” Notarianni remarked that a national single payer healthcare system would make a big difference in the lives of Ambridge residents. He stated: “I have looked over HR676, and I am all for it. It would relieve a lot of stress in the community. The savings could be used to reduce debt and taxes, reopen the Ambridge pool, which has been closed since 1995, pave streets, hire full time police officers, and build badly needed recreation facilities for our young people.”

Please click on the ‘Ambridge Borough HR676 Resolution’ tab at the top of the website to read the resolution.

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Portland IBEW Local Endorses HR 676 – Medicare for All

Posted by randyshannon on April 30, 2009

Portland, Oregon. The 4,000 member IBEW Local 48 has voted to endorse HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

Dana Welty, Oregon Nurses Association, and Tom Leedham, IBT Local 206, made a joint presentation on HR 676 to the February membership meeting but the endorsement of HR 676 was tabled until the next meeting so that members could familiarize themselves more on the issue, reports Ray Kenny, a member of IBEW Local 48.

Kenny led a group of activists in the local who then worked the phones, leafleted the bigger job sites and distributed single payer buttons. Their work paid off with the overwhelming endorsement of HR 676 at the following membership meeting.

Kenny said: “Our members were outraged that Senator Wyden’s plan would not only keep insurance companies in the mix, but would actually tax the value of the negotiated coverage we have now.”

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IMF Economist: The Real Story of US Financial Crisis and How to Solve It

Posted by randyshannon on April 30, 2009

The Quiet Coup

by Simon Johnson

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

To read the whole story paste this link in your browser: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/imf-advice

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USW and CWA Locals Endorse HR 676 – Enhanced Medicare for All

Posted by randyshannon on April 29, 2009

Two more local unions in Oregon have endorsed HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

In McMinnville, Steelworkers Local 8378 endorsed HR 676 and submitted its resolution to the Marion, Polk and Yamhill Counties Central Labor Council for consideration, reports Joseph Munger, President of the USW Local.

In Portland, Communications Workers of America Local 7901 also endorsed the Conyers bill. Mark Sturbois, a member of the 1,000 member CWA local as well as the Health Care Committee of Portland JwJ, reports that the endorsement resolution was passed out of the Local’s Executive Board with a recommendation to endorse. Sturbois stated that the resolution for HR 676 was “well received as the best avenue for controlling costs and providing universal coverage. We voted last year to endorse the resolution at the AFL-CIO convention in Oregon and thought it was important to back that up with our own endorsement,” Sturbois said.

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US Sen. Bernie Sanders Calls for Strong Grassroots Movement for Medicare for All

Posted by randyshannon on April 29, 2009

Join the grassroots movement for national healthcare. Call Cong. Jason Altmire on May 13th. See the action information linked below.

Medicare For All Lobby Campaign Leaflet

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Maine State Legislature Endorses HR 676 – Medicare for All

Posted by randyshannon on April 28, 2009

Both Houses of the Maine state legislature, on roll call votes, have endorsed a single payer healthcare system and HR 676.

Separately, a just released poll conducted by the Maine Medical Society, shows that a majority of the state’s physicians support a single payer
healthcare system.

The HR 676 resolution and vote in Maine, follows a similar roll call vote by the New Hampshire House.  The New Hampshire House voted 192-150 on March 24th In favor of Resolution HCR2 which endorses HR 676 and a single payer health care system.

Below is the Associated Press story that ran in many Maine newspapers which also cites the recent poll conducted by the Maine Medical Society.

A copy of the Maine legislature’s Joint Resolution can be found at:    http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_124th/billtexts/HP100401.asp

Submitted By The Associated Press
on Wednesday, Apr. 8 at 3:13 pm
AUGUSTA  –  Maine  lawmakers have passed a resolution calling on President Obama and Congress to establish a single-payer health system that covers everyone. The Senate passed the nonbinding resolution by a 20-15 vote on Wednesday, a day after the House did the same by a 91-52 vote.
The resolution cites the high costs of the present system and says managed care, health maintenance organizations and other reforms have failed to contain health costs. The resolution was passed months after a poll of nearly 600 Maine physicians showed a majority in favor of a single payer or “Medicare for all” approach. The survey, conducted in November and December, showed 52 percent in favor and 48 percent against.

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Plumbers and Carpenters Locals in Oregon Endorse HR 676 – Medicare for All

Posted by randyshannon on April 28, 2009

Portland, Oregon.   Carpenters’ Local 247 has endorsed HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers
(D-MI).

An informal group of union members from different crafts, calling themselves Cross Trade Solidarity, has organized to push for endorsements
of the Conyers legislation in Portland area locals.

Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 290 has endorsed HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).  The 4,000 member local has jurisdiction in Northern California, Southwest Washington and Oregon.

Eric Fanning, who introduced the endorsement resolution, said after it passed:  “The membership of United Association Local 290, Plumbers and Steamfitters, is fully aware of the crisis in health care where profits trump patient care.  The Massachusetts plan has proven to be a failure.
Senator Ron Wyden’s proposed plan would tax our health and welfare contributions, and this does not benefit organized labor.  Health Care for
America Now (HCAN) would create a two-tiered health care system.  HR 676, we believe, is the best solution to our health care crisis.”

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MAY 13 National Rally at Capitol and Call Your Congressman for Single Payer Healthcare

Posted by randyshannon on April 28, 2009

Groups strategize for single-payer plan

 

President Barack Obama and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) rarely pass up a chance to snub single-payer health care — a term that means a government-run system. So opponents on the left who want their voices heard in the debate over health care reform are planning to yell a little bit louder as Congress considers creating a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

Their strategy is simple: By pushing hard for single-payer health care, a robust public insurance option ends up looking like a compromise Democrats could accept.

“The best way to get half the pie is ask for the whole pie,” said Katie Robbins, assistant national coordinator of Healthcare-Now, which will not endorse the public plan but acknowledges the strategy. “It is like horse trading.”

Healthcare-Now doesn’t have a seat at the White House negotiating table with other interest groups, including its chief nemesis, the insurance industry. So single-payer advocates have resolved to make their cause hard to ignore. Advocates say that by making the government the sole administrator of health care, the U.S. could save billions of dollars annually on reduced administrative costs.

Single-payer groups earned headlines in March by accusing the White House of excluding them from the first health care forum, and they eventually won seats. Last week, two of those groups — the California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee — launched a Web ad campaign costing in the “low six figures,” targeting the five Democratic committee chairmen writing the health care legislation. On May 13, single-payer advocates will rally at the Capitol.

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Missouri IBEW State Conference Endorses HR 676 – Improved Medicare for All

Posted by randyshannon on April 27, 2009

St Louis, Missouri.  The Missouri State Conference of Electrical Workers has endorsed HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by
Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

The Conference, made up of all 21 IBEW local unions in the state of Missouri, represents more than 21,000 members.  The endorsement was voted at the regular quarterly meeting on Jan 13th.

Michael Datillo, President of IBEW Local 1455 who also serves as President of the State Conference, said the resolution was supported by both the members and the Executive Board.  Datillo stated:  “All unions in this Conference have negotiated healthcare for our members.  But the Supreme Court has prevented us from negotiating for retirees and with lay offs and plants closing, we all see the distress the healthcare system is in.  Healthcare is a big issue at every negotiation.  We are looking for a source for all Americans to have a good healthcare system not just our
members.”

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Top Ten Organizations Opposing Improved Medicare for All

Posted by randyshannon on April 27, 2009

The Profiteers of Suffering

The Top 10 Enemies of Single-Payer

To wit, we present the Top Ten Enemies of Single Payer (listed here in alphabetical order):

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

AARP, one of DC’s most powerful lobbying groups, has worked inside the beltway for years to defeat single payer. Why? AARP makes about a quarter of its money selling insurance through its affiliate, United Healthcare Group, the nation’s largest for-profit insurance company. AARP must defeat single payer – which if enacted, would wipe out that revenue stream.

American Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

The private health insurance industry. Public enemy number one. The health insurance corporations must die so that the American people can live. Of course, facing the death penalty, AHIP is the most aggressive opponent to single payer. No compromise with AHIP.

American Medical Association

With a shrinking base of doctors (only 25 percent of doctors nationwide belong) — the AMA is the most conservative of the doctors’ organizations. I just returned from a health care policy forum at the Center for American Progress. As usual, not one of the panelists mentioned single payer. Only during the question period did a self-identified patient/citizen ask the single payer question. And a pit bull-like Nancy Nielsen, president of the AMA, ripped into the questioner. “Sounds more like a statement than a question,” Nielsen said. “And clearly you have a point of view about that. And I don’t happen to share that point of view.” Clearly she doesn’t. But just as clearly, the majority of doctors, probably even a majority of doctors who belong to the AMA, support single payer. Nielsen is in denial and must be defeated.

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