Health care is a basic human right. America’s labor movement has worked for more than a century for guaranteed high-quality health care for everyone. The Affordable Care Act is a historic milestone on this journey, but we still have a long way to go.
America must continue moving forward toward a more equitable and cost-effective health care system. Moving forward means working with employers to demand health care payment and delivery reforms to control costs, allowing people of all ages to buy into the equivalent of Medicare through a public plan option and allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Of course, the most cost-effective and equitable way to provide quality health care is through the social insurance model (“Medicare for All”), as other industrialized countries have shown.
The worst thing we could do is move backward by repealing the Affordable Care Act or its key provisions; privatizing Medicare or turning it into a voucher program; raising the Medicare eligibility age; increasing Medicare co-pays and deductibles or otherwise cutting Medicare benefits; or taxing employment-based health care benefits.
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Testimony of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, before the New York City Council Committee on Civil Service & Labor
Wednesday, January 27, 2021