NIJWJ recieved the following letter from the Illinois Single Payer Coalition.
We as members of the Illinois Single-Payer Coalition Labor Outreach Committee (ISPC LOC)
are writing to express both our thanks for Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice’s support of single-
payer health care, and our desire to work together in the future.
Specifically, we renew our thanks for the resolution in support of John Conyers’ HR 676, now
called the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, passed by Northern Illinois Jobs with
Justice in 2013. As one of 24 Illinois labor groups to have taken this action, Northern Illinois
Jobs with Justice has demonstrated its commitment to health care justice, and to solidarity with
all working people in their need for high quality and affordable health care.
We, for our part, support every union’s fight for its members’ health benefits in the context of the
struggle for health care for all–which can only be achieved through a single-payer system. Under
a single-payer system, every resident of the US would have guaranteed access to all necessary
health care for life, without financial barriers or burdens, without regard to employment, age,
marital status, income, state of health, or any other characteristic.
As you know, while the ACA has modestly reduced both the number of uninsured Americans
and the number who cannot afford health care even with insurance, it has not solved the crisis of
the American health care system and cannot do so. Organized labor continues to face threats to
the solvency of the multi-employer plans; cuts to retiree benefits under all plans, including multi-
employer; sacrifice of wages at the bargaining table in return for health benefits that nonetheless
are becoming both more expensive and less adequate; and pressure toward cutting hours,
switching to temp labor, and sending employees to insurance exchanges, to mention only a few
major challenges. The Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care has challenged all of us to
“finish the job” by passing and implementing single-payer health care, and the ISPC LOC works
with the Campaign toward that goal.
We also collaborate with Unions for Single Payer Health Care in the campaign to secure
resolutions in support of a national single-payer plan from 1,000 labor groups. Only if organized
labor leads the fight for single-payer will implementation, when we achieve it, serve the needs of
ISPC members turn out regularly for meetings, demonstrations, and picket lines in support of
people fighting for health care justice. As an organization ISPC provides official endorsement,
support, and promotion when such actions are directed not just toward the immediate demands of
a particular group of working people, but toward solidarity with all US residents in their demand
for high quality affordable health care in a sustainable system. We express this in our slogans
“Everybody in, nobody out,” popularized by Dr. Quentin Young, and, “One nation, one health
ISPC and our member organization, the Illinois chapter of Physicians for a National Health
Program (PNHP Illinois) can provide a speaker for any group of people; and can, for larger
audiences, assist with bringing in national speakers, including organizers from Unions for Single
Payer and from the Labor Campaign.
ISPC is a small organization with a small budget. We have no wealthy donors, and like other
organizations working for single-payer health care, we receive no grants; our budget comes
entirely from low-cost membership dues and small donations. We have no paid staff; all of our
work is done by committed volunteers. We have no office; we work out of our homes. With
these resources, we and activists from our member organizations have kept the Illinois single-
payer movement alive. We have a state bill, the Illinois Universal Health Care Act; we have
published opinion pieces and letters to the editor; spoken to all kinds of groups; passed
resolutions; and walked picket lines among many other activities.
We believe that health care is a human right. We believe that a single-payer system is a
necessary condition for health care justice (although not sufficient–working people will always,
under any system, have to struggle for what we need, not just in health care, but in housing,
education, and all other human needs).
We look forward to working with you to make this right a reality for all people.
Chair, for the ISPC Labor Outreach Committee
Member, IBEW Local 134
Footnotes for statements made in this letter are available on request.