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The U.S. National Health
Insurance Act (HR 676)


Issues Briefing


• The U.S. National Health Insurance Act (HR 676)

• The Battle to Defend Good Jobs

• Defending Overtime Pay and Paid Time-Off

• Restoring Our Right to Join a Union 

• Iraq Occupation and the Federal Budget Disaster

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The health care "system" in the United States continues to deteriorate. It is essentially a health-care system that rations care by your ability to pay for it. Working people are forced to pay more and more for private insurance coverage which covers less and less. Costs are getting higher, satisfaction is sinking lower. Every UE member is faced with this health care crisis directly at the bargaining table, in both the private and public sectors. A growing number of local and national strikes are caused by bosses attempting to push the enormous and growing health care costs onto the backs of union members. Unorganized workers are forced to pay up or lose all coverage.

As many as 44 million Americans lack any health care coverage, and millions more are woefully under-insured. Adding insult to injury, unpaid medical bills remain the largest single trigger of individual bankruptcy proceedings. The push for real national health insurance reform peaked with the ill-fated Clinton plan promoted back in 1993 and 1994. President Clinton watered-down his reform plan until it was finally destroyed by the health insurance companies and the Republican Party in the 1994 elections. Since then, national health care reform has been on a political back-burner, even while the crisis continues to expand and worsen.


The introduction of the U.S. National Health Insurance Act (HR676) has helped revive and unify those forces promoting a real solution to the crisis. The legislation was introduced late last year, and is slowly gathering co-sponsors and political momentum.


Our union has supported the creation of a national health insurance program for many decades. UE supports a national "single-payer" health care program that would eliminate the private health insurance companies completely. The new national health care agency would become the single-payer of medical and hospital bills. Everyone in our country would be covered, regardless of employment status or age. The funds for the new system would come from a payroll tax on employers, and small out-of-pocket contributions by individuals. For additional information, please take the time now to review the attached article from the February 2004 UE News entitled "No More Band-Aid Approaches" and the brief summary of the U.S. National Health Insurance Act (HR676.)


  • Forty-four million people lack any health insurance.
  • Millions of working people simply cannot afford health insurance premiums any more.
  • Unpaid medical bills account for a majority of personal bankruptcy filings.
  • Every industrialized country except the United States provides for some kind of national health- care "safety net."
  • During the course of a year almost 75 million people will lack health care coverage for some period.
  • Health-care spending in the United States is greater than any other industrialized country, and continues to escalate at three to four times the rate of inflation.
  • We already pay for national health care — we just don’t get it!

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