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AFT Resolutions

HEALTHCARE: A SYSTEM IN CRISIS

WHEREAS, the healthcare crisis in America continues unabated as each year costs increase, access to care decreases and concerns about the quality of care remain unaddressed; and

WHEREAS, the continuing inability to have an effect on this growing crisis threatens to erode the living standards of our members, the social fabric of our communities and the economic health of our country; and

WHEREAS, there is ample evidence that a competitive free-market approach to solving America's healthcare crisis does not lower costs, improve access or guarantee high-quality care and that the primary beneficiaries of such an approach have proven to be pharmaceutical companies, equipment manufacturers, insurance carriers, providers and others who reap significant profits from the growing demand for health services; and

WHEREAS, recent proposals to address America's healthcare crisis, such as health savings accounts, continue to advance a failed free-market approach by requiring individuals to assume a greater share of the risk and responsibility associated with decisions about their healthcare treatments; and

WHEREAS, such proposals, if implemented, would force individuals to make critical decisions about their healthcare without sufficient information and expertise and would lead to even greater fragmentation of a "system" that is already dysfunctional due to its lack of coordination; and

WHEREAS, the lack of coordination in the U.S. healthcare system has led not only to higher costs due to waste and duplication of effort but to less effective delivery of care; and

WHEREAS, the fundamental principle of the labor movement – that fragmentation leads to weakness while solidarity leads to strength – is a powerful tool that can be applied to America's healthcare system as well; and

WHEREAS, accessibility to healthcare is every American's right, not a privilege:

RESOLVED, that the AFT again emphatically reaffirm its support for national healthcare reform that would provide universal coverage and access to quality healthcare at a reasonable cost; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT endorse the view that achievement of these goals would be expedited by the establishment of a single-payer system to prevent cost shifting and reduce administrative expenses; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT also pledge to support other proposals such as employer mandates or extending eligibility of Medicare and Medicaid and responsible statewide initiatives that would move toward achievement of its goals; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT oppose efforts to further fragment and destabilize the U.S. healthcare system by shifting costs and risk to individuals; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT support proposals to promote the efficient, effective delivery of healthcare through integrated systems that provide coordinated, efficient, evidence-based care supported by state-of-the-art information technology; and

RESOLVED, that the willingness of political candidates to address the national healthcare crisis will be an important criterion for AFT in making political endorsements; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT make comprehensive, intelligent reform of the healthcare system a priority of our organization until such time as our goals are achieved.


(2006)