Wednesday, July 15, 2009


July 15, 2009

Working families in Wisconsin have struggled for decades under the increasing burden of a broken healthcare system. That is why I am announcing the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO’s support for “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act.”

This bill, released Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives, meets President Obama’s goals by controlling runaway health care costs, offering the American people real choices and expanding access to quality health care. It has a high quality public health insurance plan that provides real choices and real competition for private insurance from day one. It calls on corporations to pay their fair share. Like the President’s proposal, it calls on those who can afford it to contribute to funding health coverage expansion – in the House bill through a modest tax surcharge on the wealthiest 1% of Americans. It does not ask ordinary Americans to pay more for what they already have. In fact, this legislation offers the real promise of improving quality, increasing access and reducing costs, all at the same time.

As longtime advocates for major health care reform on the state level, we are thrilled by the prospect of achieving health care for all in our entire country. When Healthy Wisconsin (developed in part by the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO) first passed the State Senate in June 2007, it gained national attention as a model for health care reform and for its measures to ensure that quality health care coverage was affordable to all according to family income. Now we have the historic opportunity to make affordable health care a reality for millions of uninsured Americans and at the same time increase quality and reduce costs for those who currently have health insurance.

On behalf of over 250,000 union members and their families across the state, I applaud the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees for their hard work and solid work product. We especially recognize the contributions of Wisconsin Representatives Tammy Baldwin and Ron Kind who served on these Committees, and call on them to support this bill so that reform efforts can move forward smoothly and quickly.

Voters want their elected representatives to guarantee quality affordable health care for all. They want a quality public plan that will provide a real alternative to confusing private plans that profit from denying care and shortchanging coverage. They want everyone to pay their fair share. We urge the House of Representatives to move forward with reform and vigorously resist any attempt to dilute this bill during the legislative process. We call on Congress to act swiftly on health care reform and deliver much needed relief to working families.

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