RECLAIMING THE PROMISE OF QUALITY HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
A healthcare system that ensures high-quality care for our communities is a moral imperative, an economic necessity and the fundamental right of every person in America. In a just society, everyone has a right to healthcare delivered by well-prepared, well-supported caregivers and staff—professionals who have direct input and shape decisions about care and quality in a system that keeps the needs of patients, their families and the community as the highest priority.
Every person in America shares this basic right. It belongs to those who have abundant advantages and those for whom every day is a struggle. Underpinning this fundamental right is a healthcare system that must reflect the needs of patients, providers and the community, a system designed to promote health rather than only to treat sickness.
The promise of this basic human right is under attack by those who demand and pursue a corporate agenda of profitization, privatization and deprofessionalization of health services. Once, the healthcare industry consisted of hospitals, clinics and home care services, which met the needs of the communities they served, and had healthcare providers who understood the realities of their patients’ lives. Now, healthcare is fragmented across settings, providers, states and other entities and is driven by the pursuit of profit.
Our country is at a critical moment—we must claim the promise of high-quality healthcare, not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as it can be. Together, we must fulfill our collective responsibility to guarantee that vital healthcare services are available to all. Together, we must demand that our healthcare systems become centers of their communities and make the needs of patients and families their highest priority.
By uniting caregivers, patients and communities around this vision, by working together to develop healthcare systems that are best suited for our families, we will ensure that vital services are available to all. We will fight for a system that reflects the basic right of every individual to a healthcare system that keeps as its highest priority the well-being of individuals and communities.
RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will:
- Develop an aggressive, strategic plan to make this vision to reclaim the promise of high-quality healthcare a reality by engaging state federations and local affiliates to mobilize and organize members and unite with the community to fight against the corporate control of the healthcare system and push forward our vision of healthcare as a basic human right; and
- Engage our members and the community to fight for federal, state and local legislation, policies, funding and collective bargaining agreements to ensure that our communities have access to the vital healthcare services they deserve;
This is a living document that must be continuously informed by the collective wisdom of our members, our affiliates and our community partners.