August 19th, 2009
12:22 PM ET
14 years ago

Incoming AFL-CIO pres again draws the line on a public option

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has issued a statement about health care reform and the public health insurance option."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Just a few days after warning Democratic lawmakers that failure to support a public option might cost them union support, AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer and incoming President Richard Trumka released a statement repeating the threat and promising to keep the heat on Congress and the Obama administration to support a government-run insurance option in the final version of the health care bill.

"We will be looking at every one of their votes and whether they are holding to their campaign promises," said Trumka Wednesday. "If they are against the public option and other key issues to working families such as the Employee Free Choice Act it is going to be tough for them to get support from working people."

Undecided Democratic members of Congress have faced ads and grassroots pressure from both the left and right this summer. Much of the liberal pressure has come from the Health Care for America Now coalition, which includes the AFL-CIO, and Organizing for America, President Obama's campaign arm at the Democratic National Committee.

Earlier this week, former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean said Democratic members of Congress who opposed a public option could expect primary challenges next year.

(Full statement after the jump)


A quality public health insurance option is a crucial part of health care reform to keep private insurance companies honest, hold down costs and ensure that everybody has a health care choice available. Key to holding down costs for families, for businesses, and for the federal budget is forcing insurance companies to compete. And the only way to force real competition on the insurance companies is a strong public plan option.

Unfortunately, the usual suspects opposed to reform are trying to hijack the reform process and attacking the public health insurance plan option because they are afraid of competition and they want to keep gouging working families. But unless we take decisive steps to stop the crippling rise of health costs, we will have squandered this moment of opportunity.

We will continue to relay that message forcefully to Congress and the White House.

We will be looking at every one of their votes and whether they are holding to their campaign promises. If they are against the public option and other key issues to working families such as the Employee Free Choice Act it is going to be tough for them to get support from working people.

Filed under: AFL-CIO • Health care
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. alvino

    While you anti union people are running down to Wal Mart in your foreign cars to by your favorite Chinese products, don't forget that it was the unions that did this?

    Even Glenn Beck would think you are stupid.

    August 19, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Counting the days until the Obamanation is GONE and America can prosper again

    Guess what! I'm middle class, a widow, work myself like mad to get ahead. And, when I was growing up, my family recieved death threats from the Union because my father was in middle management. You can say how wonderful the Union is, but guess what – you'll NEVER EVER convince me – in my mind, they are little better than the loony tunes domestic terrorists.

    August 19, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Enough

    Who here shops at Walmart? Ever wonder why they have great prices and the grocery store doesn't................Unions, you are paying for all their benefits. No thanks, I LOVE Walmart.

    August 19, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    Idiots, if it wasn't for Unions, there wouldn't be any democracy, you have benefits and healthcare because the Unions negotiated these benefits first, you scabs are just sucking up the benefits on the coat tails of the Union Workers who have the courage to go on strike and negotiated for better wages, benefits, retirement and vacation. Your non-union companies just give you something close to keep you from forming a Union. In other words, you are on the Marijuana System, you know the harder you suck the higher you get. Probably does n't meet the cnn moderators delicate sensitivites so won't be posted. True is not always pretty.

    August 19, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Foxrun

    A large reason for the rise in healthcare costs can be attributed to the extraordinary costs associated with employing union workers (i.e., nurses, pharmacists, etc..).

    The big question with the public option is, "who's going to pay for it". Those that are in support of a public option should realize that when the government does takes over as the "payer"; "patient rights" will become a distant memory. They will certainly stratify who gets what, when and how. Of course the decisions will be made on the "patients" overall value to society. If you're Medicare age and above, or if you have multiple disease states (diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, etc..) your value starts to quickly fade compared to your more healthy counterparts.

    Good luck with that one!

    August 19, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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