October 15, 2009

The AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka talks to Alison Stewart about their new ad on health care reform. Trumka was asked if the rumors were true that Raum Emanuel put pressure the union not to run the ad. He said they were not true and that is not the way the Obama administration operates.

From the AFL-CIO Blog-Real Health Care Reform or Bust:

The health care reform legislation approved yesterday by the Senate Finance Committee is “deeply flawed.” In full-page ads in the Washington Post, Politico and other dailies, union leaders say that comprehensive health care reform that brings down costs, improves quality and guarantees coverage for all “is closer than ever.”

But we aren’t there yet. The Senate Finance Committee bill is deeply flawed.

Not only does the Finance Committee’s bill tax workers’ health care benefits, it does not include a public health insurance option. This summer, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) approved health care reform legislation that includes a public option and does not tax workers’ health care benefits. Senate negotiators are now trying to merge the two bills into a finished product for a vote by the full Senate.

The ad spells out the unions’ “bottom line” for a final health care reform bill.

•A public health plan is essential for reform.

•Health care reform has to ease cost burden on individuals and families, not worsen it.

•Employers have to pay a fair share of costs.

•Health care can’t be paid for by a new tax on middle-class benefits.

As the ad points out, a public option would lower premiums for everyone, reduce the cost of health care reform by $100 billion and set up competition to break the stranglehold of a handful of big insurance companies that have made 96 percent of metropolitan markets uncompetitive.

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