May 11, 2006
Washington DC—Basic quality health care should be affordable to all people including families, children, the elderly and the chronically ill—regardless of how much money they make. Yesterday, this vision became reality for thousands of hardworking Vermonters when, under pressure from state legislators, a broad coalition of health care advocates, and the people of Vermont, the Governor signed the Health Care Affordability Act into law.
America’s Agenda—a grassroots organization working for comprehensive health care reform on both state and federal levels—working together with key in-state partners was the driving force behind the reform legislation.
The law is the most far-reaching health care reform law enacted by any state in nearly thirty years. And it’s a groundbreaking victory for the people of Vermont, who, like many Americans—including 46 million uninsured—are worried about the costs, availability, and quality of health care.
The Vermont law will ensure access to affordable, comprehensive coverage to all uninsured Vermonters, regardless of income—including affordable ongoing treatments for people with chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease. Cost containment measures will reduce insurance costs for all Vermonters. The cost-effective, streamlined system makes health the priority, not profits. And the law makes health care possible for everyone, instead of denying care to those most in need.
Health care is a national crisis that demands national attention. But until Capitol Hill commits to leading the way on health care reform, state-by-state initiatives like Vermont’s new law can be a model for other states. UFCW will continue to work with advocates like America’s Agenda to pass initiatives that draw blueprints for reform and create grassroots action networks that can achieve real health care reform at the national level.
The UFCW represents 1.4 million workers in North America, with nearly 1 million working in grocery stores and 250,000 working in the meatpacking and other food processing industries. UFCW President Joe Hansen sits on the Congressionally mandated Citizen’s Health Care Working Group—a panel tasked with leading a nationwide debate on how to improve our health care system.