Two countries 2 largest unions are united in their opposition to the current watered-down health care reform bill.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement to reporters that without a public option for insurance coverage or an employer mandate – and with a tax on high-end insurance plans that some union members get – the health care legislation supported by Senate Democrats falls far short of meeting his group’s standards.
“[For] this health care bill to be worthy of the support of working men and women, substantial changes must be made,” said Trumka. “The AFL-CIO intends to fight on behalf of all working families to make those changes and win health care reform that is deserving of the name.”
Earlier in the day, Andy Stern, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), sent a letter to his Lieutenants expressing his displeasure with the status of health care reform.
“President Obama must remember his own words from the campaign. His call of ‘Yes We Can’ was not just to us, not just to the millions of people who voted for him, but to himself. We all stood shoulder to shoulder with the President during his hard fought campaign. And, we will continue to stand with him but he must fight for the reform we all know is possible,” Stern wrote.
“Our challenge to you, to the President, to the Senate and to the House of Representatives is to fight,” Stern continued. “Now, more than ever, all of us must stand up, remember what health insurance reform is all about, and fight like hell to deliver real and meaningful reform to the American people.”
Stern, like Trumka, called for Democrats to make changes to the legislation as the process moves forward. And his rebuke of Obama – a staunch personal ally – was a telling sign of the growing frustration within the labor movement.
Both labor leaders were particularly incensed over the concessions made by the Senate’s Democratic leadership to Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), the 60th member of their caucus. “The public option is declared impossible. Americans cannot purchase Medicare at an earlier age. The health insurance reform effort we have needed for a century is at risk,” Stern wrote.
Lieberman’s a convenient scapegoat, but there are alot of ways to get meaningful reform with him, one way being reconciliation. If I was a dem in congress, I think I’d pass a flawed health care bill before Christmas, one that conforms to the morons wishes but doesn’t go into effect for at least 18 months, and then spend as much time as is needed to fix it before the 18 month window “closes”. Overseas, “shake every tree” and overturn every rock until you find Bin Laden or his bones, then declare victory in Afghanistan and get the f@%k out of that hell hole. Find a safe spot where you can insert your drones and special forces groups into AFPak and keep whacking bad guys on the QT as needed. While I’m pipe dreaming, why not make some deals with the corps and countries drooling over Iraq’s oil and let them clean up the mess while we get the f@%k out of there too. Then focus on the serious business of rebuilding our infrastructure, our economy, and our manufacturing base with an emphasis on conservation and alternative energy. Lastly we all sit in a circle smoke reefer and sing kum-buy-ya (everything up until the last part is doable).