AFL-CIO Digs In Their Heels - Won't Support Health Care Bill Without Public Option

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The AFL-CIO went to bat for President Obama during the 2008 election and now they are standing their ground when it comes to one of his biggest campaign promises -- health care reform that includes a public insurance option:

WASHINGTON -- The AFL-CIO, a key ally of the White House on healthcare reform, won't support legislation unless it includes a public insurance option.

"Let me be as clear as I can be -- it's an absolute must," Rich Trumka, the labor group's secretary-treasurer, and its next president, told reporters at a briefing Tuesday morning. "We won't support the bill if it doesn't have a public option."

That could add to the pressure on the White House and Senate Democrats to pull the plug on bipartisan talks aimed at bringing Republicans along with the plan. The GOP has more or less indicated opposition to just about everything Obama wants to do with healthcare, but especially the public option. Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, the lead negotiator for his party, wrote a fundraising letter to his constituents this week that asks for their "immediate support in helping me defeat 'Obama-care.'" His office later clarified -- Grassley only meant he was trying to defeat the public option. Read on...

In mid-August a group of 60 progressive Democrats stood their ground, collectively stating that they would not sign a health care reform bill that doesn't include a public option -- the chorus of support for the public option is getting louder and and louder and any Democrat who votes against their party and their constituents on this issue had better plan on a fight come reelection time.

The phrase gets used a lot, but it bears repeating: Elections have consequences, and the American people kicked the GOP to the curb in '06 and '08, choosing Democratic politicians and their platform. It's time for President Obama to follow suit, tell the Republicans to pound sand and give the American people what they want and more importantly, what they need.

Affordable, quality health care coverage for all Americans isn't just a Democratic talking point, it's an essential part of their official party platform.

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