Friday, June 26, 2009

Arlene Holt Baker on Health Care Reform

Remarks As Delivered by AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker
National Health Care Reform Rally Washington, DC
June 25, 2009

My name is Arlene Holt Baker. I’m Executive Vice President of the
AFL-CIO and I’m speaking today on behalf of 11 million workers who are
members of AFL-CIO unions.

When Congress finishes its work on national health care reform, voters
will be asking one question of their elected officials: “Does this
mean I will be able to get high quality health care for myself and my
family at a price we can afford?” The answer, my sisters and
brothers, had better be “yes.”

Health care just for the wealthy will not do. Health care without
strong cost controls will not work. And health care without a quality
public plan option to lower costs is totally unacceptable.

As trade unionists, we know what out-of-control health care prices are
doing to our contracts and our family budgets — we’ve been fighting
the fight for affordability for many, many years.

In our brand new 2009 Health Care for America Survey of more than
23,000 people, more than half said they cannot get the health care they
need at prices they can afford. A third of them have to forego basic
medical care because it costs too much. Forty-three percent of those
who have health insurance still can’t get the care they need at prices
they can pay.

Accessibility for all, high quality care and affordability are the
building blocks of a new health care system for America. Nothing works
without all three and affordability is the key. We demand no less, we
will tolerate no less, we will accept no less.

Thank you for being here and for all that you will do in the days

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