Health Care is a Human Right – (latest draft as of 6/26/16)

There is a pressing need to view healthcare as a human right, not a ‘for-profit’ commodity.

  1. Improved Medicare for All is needed. The current market-driven system for financing and administering health care has failed in several important ways:
  • Per capita, it is the most expensive system in the world. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), has not controlled costs.
  • Despite extremely high spending, health outcomes in the US rank poorly, especially for low income people and communities of color.
  • Despite the ACA, tens of millions of people are uninsured; tens of millions more are under insured and cannot afford the care they need. Medical bills remain the leading cause of bankruptcy and foreclosure.
  • Under the ACA, insurers are dropping out of many markets. In some regions there is only one insurer available to patients in their insurance marketplace.
  • The inhumanity and complexity of the current system cause considerable stress for patients and health professionals. Health professionals spend time on documentation and insurance claims that could be spent on patient care.

2.   Improved Medicare for All is founded on human rights principles:

  • Universal. All people have access to the high quality, comprehensive care they need.
  • Equitable. Care is equitably financed through progressive taxes as a public good; barriers to receiving care are removed; and care is free at the point of service.
  • Accountable and Transparent. Administration is moved from the private to the public sector so that the public can monitor quality and use of resources.
  • Participatory. The public has an active role in the design, implementation, evaluation, and accountability of the system.
  1. Improved Medicare for All (a single-payer system) is the solution:

Health care will be publicly financed through taxes, and the current multi-payer system will be replaced with a single billing system. This will make the system easier to use and save hundreds of billions of dollars in administrative costs annually. Further cost controls include setting operating budgets for service providers and negotiating fair prices for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health services. Businesses will no longer have to offer expensive health benefits, and small businesses will find it easier to compete for the best employees.

All people residing in the US will be included. All medically necessary care will be covered, including vision, dental, mental health care, long-term care, substance abuse treatment, reproductive care, transgender care, alternative/complementary care, hospice care, durable and adaptive medical equipment, and hearing aids.  Care will be delivered through public or private (not investor-owned) health practices and facilities. Patients will have full choice of providers and treatments no matter where they travel in the US.

Improved Medicare for All eliminates the stress of looking for affordable coverage, being uninsured, and worrying whether necessary medicines and treatments are covered. And it allows health professionals to focus on the needs of their patients.

  1.  Legislation:    We urge Congress to immediately replace the Affordable Care Act  with Improved Medicare for All modeled on House Resolution 676.

Full Text of HR 676 can be found at:

Summary of HR 676:   This legislation will insure health care is provided to all individuals residing in the United States and its territories. All medically necessary care will be provided, including at least the following services: primary care and prevention, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long term care, palliative care, mental health, dental, substance abuse, chiropractic, vision, hearing services, and podiatric care. Patients will be required to make no payments at the point of receiving care. Provider institutions will be public or nonprofit. Patients will be free to choose physicians, clinicians, hospitals, and care facilities. Congress will appropriate monies to cover all program costs. Funding will be obtained from existing federal sources, personal income tax on the top 5% of earners, and progressive payroll and self-employment taxes. A National Board to monitor quality and access will be established. HR 676 will take effect 1 year following enactment of the legislation.  

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The entire resolution doesn’t need to be read at the Convention – just a one-page summary – if you were thinking about incoporating other ideas.

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Oops. I see we missed a response to NeilTaylor. Neil you pointed out my personal favorite plank that we added ‘worker cooperatives’… something I have longed. Regarding your important process questions: how to respond to current underfunding of the VA, insure effective Community Health Service integration, address the cost and solvency issues…. in my view, the answer is the Human Rights principles – Public Participation = staying involved to keep the system Accountable and Transparent… the huge task indeed, but that is the long haul revolution we signed up for. Thanks again for your comments!

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THANK YOU for submitting such valuable comments to the Health Care Plank!  We did our bet to incorporate as much as we could given  constraints of brevity required to produce a piece that would fit on the conference program and could be read at the convention while holding people’s attention. …  Jeannytrew: we absolutely support ‘integrative and complementary alternative therapy.’ Thank you for helping us title it correctly. We are so sorry that space does not allow us to specifically define and give examples of these modalities, and surely hope your organization will understand this and support us.  StephenD: Thank you for helping us call out alternative therapies such as ‘music therapy’; we hope we have emphasized in out space available that we will be negotiating with pharmaceuticals and added your word ‘cost’, and lastly we hope you meant “provision” instead of Irovision. Sfern: we hope your useful comment gets incorporated, but it seemed appropriate for an education plank over this one. Emilygibsonwa: investor owned means that the facility is owned in part or fully by investors. This is relevant because this means that the facility is legally bound to maximize profits for investors which means compromising care. We really wrestled with how to convey this important concept to the public, but just could not come up with succinct wording that was more helpful than not. Darn. So we left it as just ‘investor owned.’  Thank you again to all. In solidarity. Jeanne on behalf of the HC Plank working group.

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This is great. How do we respond to underfunding and resource issues with the VA? How do we integrate Community Health Services? Do we address the cost issues with pharmaceuticals, other medical supplies, and medical services? Is there room for worker cooperatives or state control as under the British National Health Service? Would this bill cure funding and solvency issues behind closure of public and private hospitals and clinics in major urban areas?

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Shared this with my partner, who is an Emergency Room nurse.  His thoughts:  Likes the part that allows Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceuticals. This will lower costs over all.  Likes how it will increase flexibility in the labor market, which will be a positive (may make wages go up, if small businesses are not saddled with insurance costs…).   Would like clarity in what “Care will be delivered through public or private, (not investor owned) health practices and facilities” means.  What does “not investor owned” mean?     He likes the idea of co-pays, and is curious how this system will direct people to the appropriate services (i.e. primary care, specialist, Emergency room, etc). Has concerns that Emergency Departments will be over-burdened if people have free choice of where to go….       Overall, AWESOME.    Thank you!!!!

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I would like to see also an increase in places in schools for students in the health sciences with some mandatory commitment to time working in under-served areas of the country.

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You need to include a lrovision that allows any Medicare fore all/single payer system to be able to negotiate with the big drug companies and other health care providers regarding cost. 


In in addition there should be some emphasis placed on reimbursement for non pharmaceutical, non surgical treatments that have proven themselves to provide benefits to patients. Some are covered by insurance today but most are not, including as an example, music therapy. 

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If your organization would like to add wording on the value of integrative and complementary alternative medicine (CAM) to this platform, my organization could support it. The integrative and CAM communities do need a political voice and I agree and support your other legislative efforts.

Here’s my thoughts. What do you think? Thanks!
Jeannette Hoyt, Executive Director, CCAM Research Partners,

  1. Integrative health care utilizing complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) is essential to combating the rising rate of adverse drug events, especially among our veteran and aging populations, and is necessary to create a more responsive, cost-effective health care system.
  2. Prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. Deaths and hospitalizations from over-dosing, errors, or recreational drug use would increase this total. American patients also suffer from about 80 million mild side effects a year, such as aches and pains, digestive discomforts, sleepiness or mild dizziness (Harvard Center for Ethics, 2013).
  3. The abuse of and addiction to opioids for pain analgesia such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers is a serious problem that affects the health, social, and economic welfare of all societies. It was estimated 2.1 million people in the United States are suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin. The consequences of this abuse have been devastating and are on the rise. For example, the number of unintentional over dose deaths from prescription pain relievers has soared in the United States, more than quadrupling since 1999. There is also growing evidence to suggest a relationship between increased non-medical use of opioid analgesics and heroin abuse in the United States (NIDA, 2015).
  4. CAM therapies include (in alphabetical order) acupuncture, biofeedback, chelation therapy, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, Reiki, hypnosis, massage, naturopathy and traditional healers (NIH, 2007).
  5. Definitions
    Complementary therapies are those that are used along with allopathic medicine. 
    Alternative therapies are those used in place of allopathic medicine.
    Integrative health care is an approach to health care delivery utilizing multiple western health care practitioners in partnership with CAM practitioners.
    Allopathy is the biomedical western method of treating disease with drugs that produce effects antagonistic to those caused by the disease itself.

Harvard Center for Ethics: Light, D. W. (2013, July 17). Risky Drugs: Why the FDA Cannot Be Trusted. Harvard University: Safra Center for Ethics.

NIDA: Prescription Opioid and Heroin Abuse. (2014). Retrieved June 28, 2016, from

NIH: NCCIH: The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. (2011). Retrieved June 28, 2016, from






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This is great. I am glad that there is already model legislation in Congress that can be used to forward this quickly.

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