Labor Stakes Out Its Position On Healthcare

Big labor laid down its demands for health care today and they aren’t shy about what they want or what will happen if they don’t get it.


“Democratic lawmakers will not be able to count on the AFL-CIO‘s support if they drop the public insurance option from the health care reform legislation, union officials said Tuesday.

The AFL-CIO’s incoming president, Richard Trumka, outlined “three absolute musts” in any overhaul package: a public option, an employer mandate and no tax on employer-provided health benefits.

Asked if the union would work against any bill that did not hit those targets, Trumka told reporters during a briefing: “That means we won’t support the bill if it doesn’t have the public option.”

Health insurance is something that labor fought hard and successfully for and they clearly don’t want any health care plan that would upset their applecart. Unfortunately, their position seems to me to represent one of the more expensive options on the table at this point in time and not one that would invite any sort of compromise.

You can’t blame them for protecting their interests, and I don’t mean to pick on them, but it does demonstrate the intractability of all sides in this debate. If a workable plan is to emerge everyone is going to have to feel some pain. Right now everyone wants to shift that pain to everyone else.

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