Where does your member of Congress stand on health?
Are they with you, standing for quality affordable health care for all? Or are they with the insurance companies, working to increase their profits?
Don't know? Click here to call your member of Congress and find out!
Hope, Change, and Health Care
I want you to ask this question because, whatever your party and whatever your preference between one candidate and another, most Americans like you have been supporting change in this election year. And they have been embracing hope for the future, hope that our government can once again address our deepest problems with innovative solutions that serve us all.
We know, however, that real change won’t occur just by electing a new President and Congress. Powerful forces stand in the way of the change we need. A new President and Congress will need a movement of people committed to real change in order to overcome that opposition.
So in asking you to contact our member of Congress about health care, I’m asking you to join, a new movement for one of the changes we need, Health Care For America Now (HCAN)!
The Critical Importance of the Health Care Issue
Americans want an economy that creates opportunities and sustainable prosperity for everyone, not just for a few.
Americans want an economy that creates opportunities and sustainable prosperity for everyone, not just for a few. That means we have to deal with the environmental and energy problems that not only hinder economic growth but make it impossible for our growth to be sustainable. And it means with have to deal with the health care problems that not only hinder economic growth but make it impossible for our growth to be equitable.
Our economy cannot grow as it should when health care and health insurance costs are rising at rates that far exceed rates of inflation and wage growth and when concerns about health insurance prevent Americans from moving into new jobs. And it can’t grow in a way that benefits us all when so many people don’t have health insurance they can count on.
Today, a critical barrier to creating an economy that serves everyone is the failure of the private health insurance industry. Its problems are well known:
Health insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles are rising at rates that far exceed rates of inflation and wage growth. They are a major financial burden on the middle class. Many employers and individuals have been forced to drop insurance.
American workers are too often stuck in jobs that don’t suit them—or that don’t make the best use of their talents—because they are afraid that changing jobs would cost them their health insurance. And American businesses cannot compete in a world market when their health care costs are so high.
Insurance companies are restricting coverage and denying care. Even people who have insurance find out that they can’t get the best care and, in far too many cases, any care at all.
Too many people are uninsured. And that hurts us all. Health care costs go up for everyone when people who are uninsured or underinsured receive expensive treatments in hospitals that would have been unnecessary if they had received early and inexpensive care in a doctor’s office. Over ten per cent of our premium costs go to provide health care for the uninsured.
Two Paths To The Future in Health Care
We know that change is inevitable in health care because it is happening now. But we have to choose between two possible paths to the future.
The path we are now on has been set by the private insurance industry. It leads to a future in which we are left on our own to deal with the insurance industry. There will be no controls on insurance company premiums or profits, no guarantees on the benefits we receive, and no limits on how much drug companies can charge for prescriptions. Insurance companies will be free to deny us coverage or charge exorbitant rates if we have had some health problems in the past.
If we go in this direction, soon many of us will only be able to afford high deductible, high premium insurance plans with limited coverage. Government will offer nothing but tax deductions for health insurance that subsidize insurers while being of little value to most Americans. And all of us who get health insurance from our employers will have to pay taxes on it.
The future proposed by HCAN is different. We seek a guarantee of quality, affordable health care for all. Americans will have a choice between the health insurance they have now, another private insurance program or a new, public health insurance program. All plans will offer comprehensive benefits and a choice of doctors and hospitals. All will charge premiums according to the ability to pay.
If we go in this direction, new rules for insurance companies will require that they make money the old fashioned way, by insuring more people, not by denying coverage and care. And the public health insurance program will be open to all. It will control costs by bring drawing on the administrative efficiencies and buying power created by large insurance programs.
HCAN is a movement that will incessantly ask citizens and politicians to answer one question, “Which side are you on?” Do you want a future that serves the insurance companies or a future that benefits the citizens of this country? We will:
· Show Americans how the health insurance industry has been undermining our health care.
· Build a grassroots movement of health care activists.
· Secure the commitment of the members of the next Congress to our principles of reform now.
· Make this election is about the choice between the two directions in health care reform
· Use events, house parties, email and the internet as well as paid advertising to get our message out.
· Spend over $40 million dollars to build this movement.
Which Side Are You On?
So now is the time for you to answer this question. If you are on our side:
· Call your member of Congress and ask them “which side are you on?” You can use our online tool to do this or you can call toll free at 1-888-436-8427 to be connected to your member of Congress.
· Sign on to our petition to the new President and Congress.
· Volunteer for HCAN Pennsylvania at http://healthcareforamericanow.org/page/s/PAvol
It’s Not Just About Health Care
Restoring equity in health care is the critical issue for those of us who care about social justice because health care is so important and has become so expensive. But if we are successful in reshaping health care in a way that benefits the vast majority of Americans, we will do far more than meet this critical need. We will re-legitimate government for the next generation and point the way to other reforms that serve us all.
So join HCAN today. And click here to find out which side your member of Congress is on.
Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or suggestions.
Pennsylvania State Director
Health Care For America Now
Health Care For America NOW (HCAN) is co-chaired nationally by SEIU and AFSCME. There are over 150 organizations that have signed on with us nationally. You can see the whole list at http://healthcareforamericanow.org/site/content/who_we_are/
Our Pennsylvania organization is staffed by me and Gregg Potter, who is the head of the AFL-CIO CLC in the Lehigh Valley and by Ali Kronley, Ian Phillips, and MaryEllen Hayden of Acorn; Jeff Garis and Richard McVay of Penn Action and Antoinette Kraus of PUP. Our coalition and includes the AFL-CIO, UFCW Local 1776, the Communications Workers of America, Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, Community Action Association of PA, Keystone Progress, the Jewish Labor Committee, Philadelphia Jobs with Justice and Philly for Change with other groups joining every day.