San Francisco Gray Panthers healthcare resolution for 2008 National Convention:

Demand Single-Payer Healthcare and HR 676

WHEREAS increasing numbers of people, many labor unions, and now a solid majority of doctors support single-payer healthcare. Single-Payer healthcare is  equal, comprehensive, quality, low-cost, and accessible healthcare for all, delivered by today’s doctors, clinics, and hospitals, but paid for by a single, publically-accountable government agency instead of insurance companies.  Congressman John Conyers bill HR 676 calls for enacting single-payer healthcare nationally, and

WHEREAS healthcare based on private insurance is showing itself to be increasingly untenable because of out-of-control health costs, increasing numbers of uninsured people, increasing numbers of medical bankruptcies among insured  people, the reduced number of working and retired people covered by employers, and increasing political and budgetary pressure to reduce Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety-net healthcare, and

WHEREAS for years the federal government has forced poor people into private insurance by its Medicaid “Affordable Choices” initiative, by which states’ Medicaid programs are deprived of money for patient care in public or community facilities, and states can recover the money only by using it for vouchers to (barely) help poor people buy private insurance, and

WHEREAS attempts to realize so-called “universal healthcare” through insurance companies has proved to be a disaster in Massachusetts, with unaffordable premiums particularly for older people, a proliferation of stripped-down polices with ruinous deductibles and co-pays, employers refusing to pay their share of the costs of the state-run plan, massive cuts to the state funds for safety-net care for the poor, and insupportable demands on the special state-run plan for people who are uninsurable because of expensive medical conditions, and

WHEREAS the 2008 Republican presidential front-runner proposes making healthcare even worse by eliminating group insurance coverage and forcing people to buy individual insurance coverage, and by weakening states’ existing patient protection laws by allowing companies to sell stripped-down insurance policies across state lines, and

WHEREAS the 2008 Democratic presidential front-runners, as well as some coalitions of labor, companies, and health reform groups are proposing expanding health coverage only through insurance companies, with the fig leaf of offering a Medicare-like public plan that could never succeed because it would be in direct competition with insurance companies, but would not have the insurance companies’ privilege of discouraging sick patients,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Gray Panthers advance the position that no private insurance-based “reform” is acceptable to us, and we demand Single-Payer healthcare, and

RESOLVED that Gray Panthers Networks work by themselves and with other groups to pressure their national representatives to pass HR 676, and their state representatives to pass single-payer legislation in states where it is in progress, and

RESOLVED that Gray Panthers Networks participate in future demonstrations and other actions around the theme of “Healthcare YES, Insurance Companies NO!” in their areas, similar to demonstrations in over a dozen US cities on June 19, 2008.