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Resolutions & Amendments

29th International Convention - Miami, FL (1990)

Negotiations on Health Care

Resolution No. 140
29th International Convention
June 25-29, 1990
Miami, FL


Rising health care costs have already strained household incomes and governmental budgets. Yet health care prices continue to increase faster than those for all other goods and services in the economy. Even in some jurisdictions that have redesigned plan provisions in efforts to contain expenses, plan costs have increased substantially. Some of the increases are related to factors beyond the control of the employees and employers such as advanced medical technology, the aging of the workforce, and the cost of providing medical care to uninsured Americans; and


The United States is one of the few industrialized nations with no form of nationalized health care. We have the most expensive health care system in the world, spending over 11 percent of our gross national product on medical costs. At the same time, 37 million Americans have no health insurance and tens of millions more can barely afford to pay for the coverage their employers offer; and


The cost of health plan coverage continues to be a critical factor in AFSCME contract negotiations. Average annual health care costs now exceed $2,700 per employee. Wage settlements often depend on the joint efforts of the union and employer to incorporate health care cost containment techniques into health plans. Proposals to increase deductible and employee co-payments place an unfair burden on many AFSCME members; and


AFSCME labor-management committees on health care have assumed active roles in reviewing plan design and utilization, monitoring plan administration, developing education materials, implementing cost containment provisions, and offering health maintenance organizations to members. Communication with plan carriers is important to make carriers aware that they must be responsive to the concerns of the union as well as to those of the employer; and


Access to quality health care and coverage at a reasonable cost are necessary protection for all Americans.


That AFSCME councils and locals continue health benefit cost containment efforts by analyzing utilization patterns to determine areas that may not have been previously addressed such as utilization review for outpatient surgery and mental health and substance abuse treatment. Cost containment proposals should focus on areas of inappropriate use of medical services — both inpatient and outpatient — rather than shifting costs to the employees, and must not compromise the quality and accessibility of medical care. Plan design changes that shift costs to the employees are not acceptable alternatives to cost containment; and


AFSCME councils and locals continue to take an active role in the management of health benefit plans by developing new labor-management committees for health care, and where appropriate, expanding the focus and involvement of established committees; and


AFSCME councils and locals assume an active role in building a national consensus to pass legislation for a national health care system both by generating employer support for a national approach to health care and by working to build community and state coalitions for national health insurance.


That the International Union assist councils and locals in their efforts to control health care costs in order to maintain affordable coverage for all AFSCME members and extend coverage to all Americans.


International Executive Board

Henry Nicholas, President
Kathy Sackman, Secretary-Treasurer
Donna Ford, Executive Secretary
Victor Garcia, Secretary
Local 1199/AFSCME
Philadelphia, PA

Edith Nelson, President
Ruth Skalbania, Recording Secretary
AFSCME Local 843, Council 28
Seattle, WA