Trumka: The Senate Bill Is ‘Inadequate’
Rachel Slajda | December 17, 2009
The president of AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, said in a press release today that the Senate bill is “inadequate” and promised to fight for something closer to the House bill, which he said is “the model for genuine health care reform.” Here is the full text of the release:
The labor movement has been fighting for health care for nearly 100 years and we are not about to stop fighting now, when it really matters.
But for this health care bill to be worthy of the support of working men and women, substantial changes must be made. 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.
by Howard Dean
Thursday, December 17, 2009; A33
The Washington Post
If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. Any measure that expands private insurers’ monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.
Where are the chips falling, so to speak, when it comes to the popular State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)? The press ought to be finding out, and fast. Last week, the Children’s Defense Fund sent me an invitation for an informational call discussing SCHIP’s future: “If the Senate doesn’t take a stand for children in the next days or weeks, our worst fears could clearly come to pass.” The dire-sounding invite piqued my interest, especially since I had read in the House bill that SCHIP would be repealed. What was going on?
It turns out that the House indeed wants to repeal the program and require kids to get coverage via the insurance exchange, the government’s soon-to-be gigantic brokerage service. Their parents, of course, would be getting subsidies to help buy coverage, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Rep. John Dingell, a Democrat no less, touted the advantages of dumping SCHIP. One advantage: the program wouldn’t be subject to the periodic and occasionally problematic Congressional reauthorizations that threaten its existence. Dingell said kids could have the same insurance as their parents—an incentive to force parents to cover their kids. (Sometimes parents, daunted by bureaucratic red tape, don’t enroll their children even if they are eligible.)