Why did AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka diss Medicare for All over the Labor Day weekend?

Labor Fightback Network, September 12, 2019

According to Reuters, Trumka stressed a preference for the so-called public option, a tax-subsidized plan in competition with all the current private health insurance plans in an enhanced marketplace.

He quotes former Vice-President Joe Biden, who asserts that this marketplace is necessary to maintain existing union-negotiated plans and that an improved Medicare for All would likely deliver poorer benefits to union members than those private plans.

Trouble is, the AFL-CIO membership, through their convention delegates, affirmed their preference for the social insurance model, Medicare for All, at the federation’s 2009 Pittsburgh convention, and even more clearly in 2017 in Saint Louis.

The fact of the matter is that the expanded and improved Medicare for All bills in the US House and US Senate, and in many state legislatures, provide benefits that far exceed the best of the negotiated union plans (including long term disability) with no co-pays, deductibles or out of pockets, with the right to choose your own healthcare providers, guaranteed lifetime coverage with no break in coverage, and no more trading off wages and benefits for basic healthcare at the bargaining table.

Furthermore, Labor’s taking the lead in winning a truly universal health plan, one that establishes a single high standard of care for all of us, constitutes a profound act of solidarity. We’ve seen the evil that’s generated in society by those who glory in their own successes and have nothing but distain for those lacking those benefits.

The members have a clear preference for Medicare for All, as reflected in Resolution #34 of the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention and in Resolution #6 of 2017. The federation’s officers are mandated to follow the will of the members so expressed rather than the concerns of corporate Democrats and their allied medical-industrial complex.

Trump will not be defeated and this country will not be turned around by such antics. We must continue to raise such a clamor for healthcare justice that such leaders will not be able to turn a deaf ear. Unite around a plan of action, not of retreat!

About elnwebmaster

This is the discussion blog of the Labor Fightback Network, an auxiliary to the laborfightback.org website. It is designed to facilitate discussion among labor activists concerning the critical issues facing working people in the current economic crisis. Readers’ comments are welcome, but flaming is not. Any comments which are racist, sexist/homophobic, or disrespectful on a personal level will not get past moderation.
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