California AFSCME District Council Urges Support for HR 676

The President of AFSCME District Council 36 in Southern California has written to three Congressmen urging support for HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation now in the House of Representatives.

Alice Goff, President of AFSCME District Council 36 in Los Angeles, sent the letter to Representatives John Conyers, Xavier Becerra and Henry Waxman. AFSCME District Council 36 represents 22,000 members across California.

Conyers is the author of HR 676. Becerra is one of 77 current co-sponsors in addition to Conyers. Waxman, who was a co-sponsor of HR 676 in the 109th but not in the 111th Congress, chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, one of three House Committees with jurisdiction over healthcare.

Text of letter follows:

May 11, 2009

Congressman John Conyers 2426 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515

Re: Support for HR 676 (Conyers)

Dear Congressman Conyers:

I am writing to express our union's support for HR 676, the Unites States National Health Insurance Act, and to thank you for your leadership on this important issue. As you know, HR 676 is the only proposal before the congress that will guarantee comprehensive health insurance to every American and give them the ability to choose their own physician. With the serious economic crisis we face today, there has never been a more timely initiative. This model will save billions of dollars in national health care spending and will save money for families, individuals, businesses and local governments.

At the same time, HR 676 will respond to the needs of residents without insurance and the growing number losing their employer-based health care that are unable to maintain the coverage on their own even with COBRA.

Each year employers and working families find health insurance premiums rising. The costs are often passed on to employees or benefits are diminished. Overall, health care costs rise annually at more than double the rate of inflation. They have outpaced increases in wages by a ratio of 4:1 since 2000. The trajectory is unmistaken and is clearly unsustainable.

While the United States spends almost twice as much for health care as other industrial nations, exceeding 16% of our GDP, millions remain without coverage and our health outcomes, according to the World Health Organization, is ranked as 37th.

It is time to fundamentally change our broken health care system and provide quality, comprehensive and guaranteed coverage for everyone. HR 676 moves clearly and decisively toward that goal. And that’s why our membership of over 22,000 in Southern California, District Council 36 and our AFSCME Affiliates throughout the state supports HR 676.

Sincerely,

Alice Goff President

Cc: Congressman Xavier Becerra Congressman Henry Waxman Council 36 Executive Board Willie Pelote, AFSCME California Political & Legislative Director