Universal Healthcare: A Basic Human Right

APWU supports expanding Medicare to guarantee the right of healthcare for all Americans.

Many of our relatives, friends and neighbors have fallen victim to a healthcare system that is in a state of turmoil. The Affordable Care Act is under continued attack and its future is unclear, as elected representatives scramble to create new legislation. Stripping health care from millions, as some lawmakers propose, takes us in the wrong direction. Instead, Congress must act to expand coverage to all.

The APWU adopted a Medicare for All resolution at the 2018 National Convention. The United States is the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee access to basic health care for residents. Countries that guarantee health care as a human right do so through a “single-payer” system, which replaces the thousands of for- profit health insurance companies with a public, universal plan. More than 30 countries worldwide offer their citizens government run health care, yet the United States still does not. As a result, nearly 30 million Americans lack health insurance, and millions more cannot afford their deductibles or co-pays.

A single payer program would end healthcare related personal bankruptcies, improve public health and is widely believed to reduce overall health care spending in the United States. In addition, by implementing a system under which all healthcare revenue goes into a single public fund that pays for all medical services. A single-payer system would:

  • Guarantee the same coverage for all, regardless of employment status or wealth;

  • Provide a free choice in the selection of a caregiver;

  • Reduce administrative costs nationwide; and

  • Leave decision-making tasks in the hands of the public.

The APWU is proud to stand with the Labor Campaign for Single Payer and has long supported a shift away from the private health insurance market to a government run program.

The APWU will continue to support legislation that provides affordable and adequate single payer healthcare coverage for all.

The Medicare For All Act Of 2021

APWU urges members of Congress to stand up for universal healthcare and co-sponsor important legislation to cover all Americans. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) have introduced this bill in the House and the Senate. The goal of Medicare for All is to ensure that all Americans will have access to the highest quality and most cost-effective healthcare services regardless of their employment, income, or health care status. In short, this bill would codify into law the moral truth that healthcare is a human right. Some highlights of the bill are:

  • Guarantee quality healthcare for all Americans through expanded Medicare program.

  • Provides comprehensive health care coverage including all primary care, hospital and outpatient services, dental, vision, audiology, women’s reproductive health services, maternity and newborn care, long-term services and supports, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse treatment, laboratory and diagnostic services, ambulatory services, and more.
  • Ensure that, upon receiving care, patients would not be charged any co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs.

  • Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices to substantially lower the costs of prescriptions drugs.

  • Preserves the ability of veterans to receive their medical benefits and services through the Veterans Administration, and of Native Americans to receive their medical benefits and services through the Indian Health Service.

Contact the APWU Legislative and Political Department at (202) 842-4211 for more information


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