Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The next 48 hours are crucial to us in passing health care.
After a lot of deliberation by the IATSE and other national unions, the AFL-CIO has decided today to put our strong, active support behind the President's health care bill. After 60 years of fighting for health care reform, we are convinced that now is the time to say "Yes." This health care bill is good for working families-now and even more in the future.
It is not a perfect bill. But we are realistic enough to know it's time for the deliberations to stop and for progress to begin. And we are idealistic enough to believe this is an opportunity to change history we can't afford to miss.
If this legislation is not enacted, the bottom will fall out of existing health coverage in short order. A study released this week found that, if action is not taken now:
Spending by individuals and families for their share of insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase 79% by 2020.
Employer premium spending will jump by 98%.
The uninsured population will increase by 10 million people by 2015 and nearly 20 million by 2020.
More than half of the growth in the uninsured will come form moderate and middle income families.
But this doesn't have to happen if members of Congress stand up for their constituents and stand up to the insurance industry by voting to pass health reform legislation in the coming days.
Save families between $2000 a year (CBO) and $3000 (Business Roundtable) in premium payments by 2019.
Cap out of pocket costs and eliminate insurance company limits, both annual and lifetime
Effectively end medical bankruptcies - now running 700,000 a year in the US, two-thirds of which involve "fully insured" people - by eliminating insurance limits and capping out-of-pocket costs.
Covers an additional 32 million people, or 95% of the population
Ban coverage denials or higher rates due to pre-existing conditions
Outlaw practice of insurers dropping coverage when someone files a claim or is diagnosed with a condition requiring expensive treatment
End gender discrimination in setting insurance rates
Establish a procedure to review insurance premium increases and take action against unreasonable rate hikes.
Please generate as many calls as possible on Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20 urging your Representative, in no uncertain terms, to vote for the House Affordable Health Care Reconciliation Bill.
Following is a link that will help you find the phone number and email address of your Representative.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee has an excellent district-by-district breakdown of the impact of the reconciliation bill, with lots of facts and figures. Check it out before you speak with your member of Congress, at:
The "reconciliation bill" now before Congress is a solid, credible beginning towards complete health reform - not a baby step or a half-measure, but a comprehensive reform bill that will set our country on a path to health care that really works for working families.
It substitutes in its place a progressive tax on the wealthy that requires Medicare contributions be paid on unearned income for the first time.
It cuts brand name drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries by 50% in 2011 and closes the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole" completely by 2020.
It increases subsidies to purchase health insurance for those with low and moderate incomes.
This is crunch time and we need your support.