RALLY Remarks

I bring you greetings from the New York Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program

And best wishes for victory in your fight to protect the health benefits you have won as a result of years of hard work

You are right to see the MTA’s proposal to make new workers pay 1% of their salary for health benefits as a deadly threat. (The MTA came down from 2%, but that’s not good enough.)

Not only is this proposal unfair to new workers, but over time it will weaken the ability of the union to defend the kind of benefits you have now, since more and more members won’t be covered in the same way that you are today.

The health benefits that workers have won are under threat everywhere in the United States.

Health benefits are the number one cause of strikes.

It’s becoming clearer every year that this is not a battle that can be secured in any stable way at the bargaining table.

Those days are over, even though everyone has to try to do the best they can with their individual employers, as you are now.

What we need is a National Health Insurance program that covers everyone in the United States, regardless of age, employment status, or income.

That’s what every other industrialized country in the world has.

Here in the United States, we have national health insurance for people over 65  it’s called Medicare.

The Bush Administration is trying to destroy Medicare. We have to say “NO” to that attempt, and join together instead for an improved “Medicare for All” program for the United States.

Today’s private health insurance companies seek to insure only healthy people, not those who need it most — the sick. That’s crazy!

We need to improve Medicare with a real prescription drug benefit, dental care, full mental health coverage, and long-term care.

Countless studies have shown, we could have a quality, comprehensive, universal health care system in this country for no more money than we are spending now if the government rather than 1000 private companies provided health insurance.

Private insurance companies soak up 15-30 per cent of every premium dollar on administrative costs sand profits, whereas Medicare’s administrative costs are less than 3 per cent.

A “Medicare-for-All” system would offer patients real choice — the freedom to choose your own doctor or hospital– rather than the choice of a private health insurance plan, which forces patients to endure the countless restrictions, such as pre-certifications, doughnut holes, and pre-existing conditions and limits the choice of doctor and hospital.

We invite the MTA, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, and all the political, business, labor, civil and religious leaders of New York to join in this movement for national health insurance, by supporting John Conyers Medicare for All bill, HR 676.

“Medicare-for-All” is what we need, but we won’t get it unless we all work together to get it. So, we stand beside you today in your fight to keep the benefits you have won, and we also invite you to join with Physicians for a National Health Program in a movement for health insurance for every man, woman and child in this country.


Leave a comment