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Everybody In Nobody Out: The Case for Single Payer Healthcare (Video Series)

Published: Dec 18 2019 1:49PM

The current American health insurance system is unsustainable. Greed, as it has much of American life, has rendered our healthcare ineffectual. For the majority of Americans, medical decisions and care are weighted against their ability to pay for them. And that price tag is increasingly far out of reach. The decision to go to the doctor and save their child’s life has a price tag – and it’s one that many cannot pay.

And the reason for this is not due to doctor salaries or scientific medical research. The reason is twofold, but birthed from the same greed-soaked reality. Health insurance companies want to use sickness and medical care to milk gigantic profits from an endless, yet morbid, well, and, other American companies do not wish to come off their record profits to end this charade and universally fund the citizenry’s health.

This is not a new phenomenon. Our Brotherhood has been harping on the importance of universal health care as a right for close to a century. For decades, we have supported measures that reduce the cost of healthcare and ensure that everyone -- not just BMWED members, but all citizens – have affordable access to medical care. At the 2018 BMWED convention, delegates unanimously reaffirmed Resolution 54 which cemented our commitment to permanently take health insurance off the bargaining table by passing federal law establishing Medicare For All.

In the six videos below, former chairman of the United States Labor Party and president of Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union Local 8-149 Brother Mark Dudzic expertly makes the case for universal healthcare, more commonly known as Medicare For All.

We hope that you will watch all six of these videos and ponder our current healthcare system and its obvious problems. The time has come to fix this injustice and Organized Labor and the BMWED intends to be on the front lines battling for healthcare as a human right once and for all.


1. The American Healthcare System is Broken

Health care expert and former labor negotiator Mark Dudzic explains the state of health insurance in the United States (hint: it’s lousy). In this video, Brother Dudzic quickly summarizes the problems with our current system. American health insurance costs twice as more than the rest of the industrialized world, covers fewer, and is far more tenuous for the working class. If you lose your job, you lose your coverage. If you get sick and can’t work, you oftentimes lose your coverage. That’s not to mention, the current health insurance you receive through your employer is expensive, and those costs are swiftly being passed on to you.

Graph: We Are Spending More Than Other Countries
Graph: Reasons for Being Uninsured
Graph: Premiums Paid by Workers Keep Going Up
Graph: Health Insurance Company CEOs' Compensation

Source Materials Provided by:

Runaway Inequality and the Crisis of Healthcare in America 

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)

2. The Single Payer System Solution

In this video, Brother Dudzic discusses the plan to treat healthcare like a public good: otherwise known as the Medicare For All solution. Its base point is that a person’s health should be a right of life in a democratized society. “Whether you live in Trump Tower of the dumpster underneath Trump Tower, you should be treated the same at the hospital.” Brother Dudzic further delves into the costs of Med4All and how moving to a just and equitable system is something that is long overdue.

3. Taking Healthcare Off the Bargaining Table

The cost of bargaining over health insurance has become unsustainable. In this video, Brother Dudzic outlines how having health insurance linked to your employment is an antiquated and unfair system that was only instituted when President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan for universal coverage went unfulfilled. Costs of health care have risen twice as fast as wages in this country, which has stagnated wage growth and spending power. No other country in the world treats healthcare as a “benefit” to employment. It is time we take this chip off the bargaining table and, in turn, the leverage that dangling health insurance over our head provides the railroad companies.

Graph: Healthcare Costs Rise Much Faster than Wages
Graph: Real BMWED Average Rate, Real Rate Adjusted for Health Insurance Contributions and Real Class I RR Net Income

Source Materials Provided by:

Runaway Inequality and the Crisis of Healthcare in America 

4. What the Opposition Will Tell You

In this video, Brother Dudzic dissects some of the most commonly recited speaking points against a Medicare For All system. The health insurance companies are desperate to protect their racket and there is no shortage of fear-mongering they will float for public consumption. From scary price tags, to death panels, to government criticism, to “free loaders,” the crooks at the top of the health insurance pyramid scheme will stop at nothing to protect their sacred cash cow. Brother Dudzic does a fine job of discrediting all their bluster.

:07 It Costs Too Much
:40 Death Panels
1:10 Canadian Healthcare is No Good 
1:42 The Government Can’t Do Anything Right
2:39 The System Creates Freeloaders 
3:16 We're Going to Lose What We Have
3:58 The Quality of Care Will Be Worse
4:22 How Do We Trust the Politicians? 

Graph: 38,882 Deaths During in the United States in 2019 Due to Being Uninsured 

Canadian Healthcare Poll

Source Materials Provided by:

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)

5. How Organized Labor Can Support Single Payer

So, how can Organized Labor and Union workers help in the fight for affordable and universal healthcare for all Americans? In this video, Brother Dudzic lays out the game plan. It involves putting pressure on our elected representatives through a litany of ways. Resolutions at the local lodge level. Educating our membership. Using every tool in our mobilizing box, from door-to-door canvassing to public demonstrations. Monthly calls to our lawmakers. We need the “people power.” It is our strongest asset and our most-assured way of achieving healthcare as a public right.

BMWED Resolution in Support of Rail Labor for Single Payer

Call your congressperson at 202-858-1717 and tell them to be an original co-sponsor of H.R.1384 Medicare for All Act

6. How We Will Pay for Single Payer Healthcare

The $3 trillion-dollar question:  How do we pay for Medicare For All? It’s a fair and important question and one that BMWED Internal Organizing Coordinator Carey Dall succinctly deduces in this video. Using the revenue flows that are included in the House bill currently on the floor of Congress, Brother Dall walks us through what it would look like for the average BMWED railroader and explains how, at the end of the day, the everyday worker comes out ahead.