Video: "Beyond Obamacare: Why Labor Deserves Better" with Dr. Andrew Coates

Andy Coates, MD, a former union activist and elected member of the statewide executive board of his union, the 58,000 member New York State Public Employees Federation, AFL-CIO, recently spoke in Chicago where his presentation appeared on Labor Beat, a Chicago area Cable TV program.

Dr. Coates presents a clear overview of the national health care crisis, the inadequacies of the ACA, and the argument for an ‘everybody in, nobody out’ Single Payer health program. He gives insight into the basics in this debate, backed up by selected PowerPoint graphics prepared by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and the Illinois Single-Payer Coalition. Dr. Coates is President of PNHP; Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Albany Medical College; Chief of Hospital Medicine, Samaritan Hospital, Troy, NY; and Medical Director, Albany County Nursing Home.

Dr. Coates concludes that insurers are selling an “unaffordable, defective product” as he compares the U.S. health care system to other industrialized countries. We are a nation of increasingly un- and under-insured, facing staggering household debt from medical bills, and in particular exposing under-insured children, women, minorities and retirees to increasing fatality rates and poor health, in order to satisfy a market solution to health care.

He points to the 2013 AFL-CIO resolution’s “commitment to pursue health care for all ultimately through a single-payer system” as an important step forward.

Dr. Coates calls upon the union movement: “I think that for the trade union movement that if we speak out for what it means for all working people we’re talking about liberating the whole country here with basic economic rights, the right to necessary care. Then we find a way forward for the whole trade union movement. The unions they have the expertise, they know how to lead us forward, they know exactly how to organize people, how to fight…and it’s going to take a fight. There’s no shortcut.”

If your union has not yet endorsed HR 676, please take that first step.

There is a sample resolution here: