During the 2009 MTD Convention, the national debate on what became the Affordable Care Act was underway. Congressional town hall meetings called to explain what was happening on Capitol Hill devolved into screaming and shouting matches.
Through all this, our delegates kept their eyes on the prize the Labor Movement has sought for decades – the need for health care for all Americans. Just eight years ago, more than 50 million Americans had no health care coverage.
We all know that the measure Congress eventually passed and President Obama signed wasn’t – and still isn’t – perfect. We will not get into the specifics with this resolution, but the Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction.
As more and more portions of the law came into effect, the number of Americans without insurance fell to less than 20 million. Yes, people are still suffering without insurance and more has to be done to help those whose coverage is less than adequate.
But, going back to the time of President Truman when he first proposed a national care policy to cover all Americans, there have been those special interests opposing any effort to enact such measures. From the creation of Medicare and Medicaid under President Johnson to the ill-fated health care task force under President Clinton, the naysayers have proclaimed that the sky would fall or the seas would boil if health coverage were expanded to everyone.
Today is no different. Numerous attempts by Congress to scale back or kill the Affordable Care Act have – so far – failed. While imperfect, the law has helped millions see a doctor or enter a hospital when it had been out their financial reach.
The resolution considered and passed by the delegates attending the 2009 MTD Convention did not deal specifically with the Affordable Care Act. It simply called upon Congress and the administration to help those in need. There is no need to quote then-Vice President Biden when the act passed, but all of us in Labor know that health care for all is a big deal.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the delegates to the 2017 MTD Convention reaffirm the department’s position to fight for health care for all Americans; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils renew the call issued by the delegates to the 2009 MTD Convention to work with members of Congress to create a health care system in which employers would either offer coverage or pay into a fund to finance coverage for uninsured workers while making sure that taxation of those with benefits is not included.
Passed 2017 MTD Convention