Paul Cannon

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Paul Cannon

Boston Health socialists lobby for healthcare

According to Boston Democratic Socialists of America member Rand Wilson, On Sept. 1 2005 Congressmen John Tierney and Maurice Hinchey heard testimony in Boston support of a “Medicare for All” solution to the health care crisis.

The growing severity of this crisis brought together over 40 grassroots organizations for an impressive—and unusual—showing of political unity for health care reform based on extending Medicare to everyone.

Reps Barney Frank, Jim McGovern and John Olver and John Tierney were sponsoring legislation in the House—HR 676—that would implement this approach.

The hearing, initiated by Massachusetts Jobs with Justice and cosponsored by numerous health care, labor and community groups including Boston Democratic Socialists of America, was attended by over a hundred people.

“A plan like Medicare for All brings ‘Everybody In’ and leaves ‘Nobody Out’,” said Catherine DeLorey, a member of Massachusetts Public Health Association’s board of directors. “It creates powerful incentives to strengthen public health programs that will eventually make everyone healthier and save society billions of dollars.”

IUE-CWA Local 201 member Carol Cormier said, “It’s clear to me and my union that all employers are trying to resolve the health care crisis on the backs of their employees.

“The system they’ve set up for the new Medicare Rx plan brings in unnecessary middlemen,” said Ann Stewart, a member of Mass Senior Action Council and participant in the Prescription Advantage program.

“Over fifteen years of privatization, deregulation, job reengineering, managed care, hospital closures and cuts in essential services has resulted in an industrial model of health care that I call mangled care, ” said long-time reform advocate Sandy Eaton,a member of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, who works as an RN at Quincy Medical Center.

“When we started organizing the hearing, only one member of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation had signed on. Now we have four out of the ten,” said Paul Cannon, President of Teamsters Local 122 and co-chair of Jobs with Justice’s Health Care Action Committee.

“Skyrocketing costs, deteriorating quality of care, loss of insurance coverage and access to essential services is affecting everyone’s health care, ” said Rep. John Tierney. “Common sense solutions like extending Medicare to cover everyone can save money while improving quality and access to health care for all.”

Former WBZ TV 4 news reporter Sarah-Ann Shaw, a civil rights organizer and human services advocate, moderated the forum.[1]