On September 21, 2013, the Central Illinois Jobs with Justice Chapter officially endorsed HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All single payer legislation, reports David Johnson, a retired union carpenter and delegate to the chapter from the Illinois Single Payer Coalition.

“The delegates voted unanimously to support HR 676,” said Johnson, in spite of variations in their estimates of the Affordable Care Act. “Differences of opinion were centered around the question of whether or not the ACA is a step in the right direction,” but there was unity around HR 676 as the goal, said Johnson.

Founded in 2006, the chapter is made up of 27 unions, community and faith-based organizations in Champaign County and has worked in solidarity with unions on the University of Illinois campus, supported mineworkers in Vermillion County, mobilized in support of FlexNGate workers, participated in the effort to remove Coca Cola from the campus, and much more.

The organization has taken the name “The Mother Jones Chapter of Jobs with Justice” in honor of Mary Harris Jones the legendary mineworkers’ organizer who is buried in Mt. Olive, Illinois, alongside the miners killed in the strike-related Virden riot of 1898.

In other news, Representatives Chaka Fattah (PA-2) and Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47) signed on as co-sponsors of HR 676, bringing the total to 51 counting chief sponsor John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13).

HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a greatly improved Medicare to everyone residing in the U. S.

HR 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.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 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, HR 676 has 50 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 608 union organizations including 146 Central Labor Councils/Area Labor Federations and 43 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, NH, & ID).

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

Kay Tillow
All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551

Email: nursenpo@aol.com