Friday, June 26, 2009

National Health Care Reform

Coming from unions, community organizations and all walks of life, nearly 10,000 supporters of health care reform gathered on Capitol Hill today to send a strong message: We demand affordable, high-quality health care for all, and we aren’t waiting any longer.

Every corner of the Upper Senate Park on Capitol Hill was filled this afternoon with union members, health care advocates and community activists from across the country, and they heard from not only members of Congress and union leaders, but also from nurses, small business owners, workers and parents who told compelling stories about why we need health care reform.

Like all of the speakers, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker expressed confidence that we can move from an unsustainable health care system to one that protects families and covers everyone:

Health care without cost control will not work. Health care without a quality public option to lower costs is totally unacceptable.

Many rally participants are spending this afternoon at town hall meetings and on Capitol Hill lobbying members of Congress for real health care reform. In addition to the strong turnout of union members and community organizers, groups including Working America and Democracy for America brought tens of thousands of signatures they’ve collected from people across the country who say we’ve waited long enough for health care reform.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said despite determined opposition from the insurance companies that control our health care now, we have an opportunity to build on and improve our health care system:

Special interests and the health insurance industry will not hijack this process. We must have and we will have a strong public option.

Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Schwartz said we need health care reform that controls costs to recover from today’s economic crisis:

This is such an important issue for all of us. It’s always been a moral responsibility, but it’s increasingly an economic imperative.

Other rally speakers included union leaders President Gerald McEntee of AFSCME and President Larry Cohen of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), members of the House and Senate, actress Edie Falco, former Gov. Howard Dean and leaders of a wide variety of grassroots organizations.

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