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Labor and community organizations call on their members and the public to "Take a Break" for health care reform

Mobilization kicks off broad health care education campaign

Union activists and health care reformers across the state are mobilizing for an education campaign to provide the public with more information about the reasons health insurance costs are skyrocketing and what needs to be done to make it more affordable.

The campaign also gives participants a chance to "vote" for a "Medicare for All" solution that would cover everyone and more effectively control costs. Medicare is the federal insurance program that already covers the vast majority of people over age 65. The program’s administrative costs are less than 5 percent, while overhead for private, employer-based insurance eats up about 30 percent of health care spending.

The health care ballots will be counted on December 5 by Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, a community-labor coalition that is spearheading the campaign.

"This is a great effort to broaden the public’s understanding about health care reform efforts," said Sen. Steven Tolman, lead sponsor of a proposed state reform that would similarly provide health insurance for everyone in Massachusetts.

Some of the organizations participating in the Take a Break for Health Care campaign include IBEW Local 2222, the Lynn Health Task Force, Mass. Coalition for Healthy Communities, Lower/Outer Cape Community Coalition, MNA, Mass Senior Action Council, SEIU Local 2020, Sisters Together Ending Poverty, Teamsters Local 122, and Utility Workers Local 369.

The education effort follows a Health Care Action Day last June, when tens of thousands of workers and community activists wore stickers to protest threatened cuts in medical benefits and health care services. After the sticker day, many participants asked for more detailed information about the financing and feasibility of providing health care for all.

Backed up by unions and community groups, Jobs with Justice’s Health Care Action Committee links struggles against insurance cost shifting and cuts in health care services to help build a larger movement for reform. Another Health Care Action Day is planned for next year.

Copies of the Take a Break for Health Care campaign materials are available from Rand Wilson at the above number. They may also be obtained from JWJ’s web site at