Monday, January 11, 2010

Health care reform shorts:
AFL-CIO's Trumka spells out what's up


Speaking at the National Press Club, President Richard Trumka had this to say (I quote at length because I don't trust most media to bother to tell us what a union leader says.) After a running through a litany of progressive efforts supported by labor, he continued:

...these initiatives should be rooted in a crucial alliance of the middle class and the poor. But today, as I speak to you, something different is happening with health care.

On the one hand we have the House bill, which asks the small part of our country that has prospered in the last decade--the richest of the rich--to pay a little bit more in taxes so that most Americans can have health insurance. And the House bill reins in the power of health insurers and employers by having an employer mandate and a strong public option.

But thanks to the Senate rules, the appalling irresponsibility of the Senate Republicans and the power of the wealthy among some Democrats, the Senate bill instead drives a wedge between the middle class and the poor. The bill rightly seeks to ensure that most Americans have health insurance. But instead of taxing the rich, the Senate bill taxes the middle class by taxing workers' health plans--not just union members' health care; most of the 31 million insured employees who would be hit by the excise tax are not union members.

The tax on benefits in the Senate bill pits working Americans who need health care for their families against working Americans struggling to keep health care for their families. This is a policy designed to benefit elites--in this case, insurers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and irresponsible employers, at the expense of the broader public.

Transcript at TPM

My emphasis. Sad to see a Democratic President siding with the elites and dividing his "friends."

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