Resolution in Support of the Medicare for All Act of 2019 and Safe Staffing in Healthcare facilities!

WHEREAS, the number of people inside the United States without health insurance is still nearly 26 million, and more than 40 million people across the nation remain underinsured despite important gains made since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act;

WHEREAS, the United States paid approximately $4.1 trillion in total healthcare spending in 2020, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year and, at nearly $12,300 per person, the highest healthcare per capita spending rate in the world;

WHEREAS, despite spending nearly 20 percent of the gross domestic product on healthcare, the United States has worse health outcomes compared with other developed countries, including a maternal mortality rate up to five times more than other developed countries, a higher infant mortality rate, a lower life expectancy and higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and preventable deaths. Numbers for women of color are disproportionately higher;

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act has resulted in dramatic increases in health insurance coverage since its passage in 2010, yet the 12 states (mostly in the US South), including North Carolina, not participating in ACA-authorized Medicaid expansion perpetuate non-coverage for low-income Individuals;

WHEREAS, every person in North Carolina deserves comprehensive, quality healthcare;

WHEREAS, in North Carolina, as the rest of the U.S., residents of color are less likely than white residents to have health insurance;

WHEREAS, its is a top priority of the UE150 to redress past and current inequities facing the working class;

WHEREAS, medical costs are a significant barrier to seeking medical care for residents in North Carolina;

WHEREAS, rising costs of healthcare add additional challenges to our municipal budget and our small businesses;

WHEREAS, state mental health workers in the Department of Health and Human Services facilities, like healthcare workers across the country, have been deeply understaffed for years, but the global pandemic made these numbers significantly worse.  For example, Central Regional has 1,437 employees, but 449 vacancies, which is nearly 25% vacancy rate, with similar rates at other DHHS facilities. 

WHEREAS in July 2022, there were 257 patients at Central Regional Hospital, the maximum the hospital could handle based on low staffing. That’s down from 367 patients in July 2019. When fully staffed, the hospital can handle close to 400 patients. 

WHEREAS the state’s three psychiatric hospitals have long wait lists, forcing people to overflow into emergency rooms and urgent care clinics, unable to provide the level of care needed. As of mid-August 2022, 68 patients were on Central’s wait list. On average, it took 296 hours to admit them, which is more than 12 days.  Broughton Hospital has 15 patients waiting an average of 127 hours. Cherry Hospital has 87 patients waiting about 156 hours to be admitted. 

WHEREAS, extreme understaffing in healthcare facilities leads to increased staff burnout, turnover, injuries and threatens quality care.

WHEREAS, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 would also provide a boost in funding to health care systems allowing for improved salaries and benefits for front-line health care staff leading to improved staffing and safer working conditions for health care providers;

WHEREAS, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 would provide national health insurance for every person in the United States for all the necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, women’s reproductive care, dental and vision care, long-term care, without copays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs, and would slash bureaucracy, protect the doctor patient relationship, and assure patients a free choice of doctors;

WHEREAS, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 will guarantee that all residents of North Carolina will be fully covered for healthcare without copays, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket costs and save millions in taxpayer dollars now spent on premiums;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT THIS 12th UE LOCAL 150 CONVENTION:

  1. Expresses its enthusiastic support for the Medicare for All Act of 2019 and calls upon our federal representatives to work towards its immediate enactment, assuring comprehensive and quality healthcare for all residents of the United States; and
  2. Encourages UE150 chapters do deep education and agitation around Medicare for All, and to use the struggle for healthcare justice as a recruitment tool to the union; and
  3. Encourages UE150 chapter to build workplace campaigns to pressure their employers to publicly speak out in support of Medicare for All, including the passage of resolutions by city councils; and
  4. Requests that the Executive Board send copies of this resolution to Sen. Thom Tillis, Sen. Richard Burr, Congresswoman Alma Adams, Congressman Dan Bishop, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. David Price, Rep. Mary Belk, and UE locals, UE regions, as well as any and all other Unions operating in North Carolina.

Submitted by Butner Area DHHS chapter