17 December 2009

Senate Bill Inadequate - Support the House Bill!

The following is the official statement by AFL-CIO President Trumka
about the
Senate bill.

December 17, 2009

The labor movement has been fighting for health care for nearly 100 years
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
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.

The absolute refusal of Republicans in the Senate to support health care
and the hijacking of the bill by defenders of the insurance
industry have
brought us a Senate bill that is inadequate: It is too
kind to the insurance

Genuine health care reform must bring down health costs, hold insurance
companies accountable, assure that Americans can get the health care
they need
and be financed fairly.

That's why we are championing a public health insurance option: It is
the way to break the stranglehold of the insurance industry over
consumers that has led
to double digit premium increases virtually
every year.

Employers must pay their fair share.

And the benefits of hard-working Americans cannot be taxed to pay for
health care reform.
That's no way to rein in insurance companies and
it's the wrong way to pay for health
care reform.

Those are the changes for which we will be fighting in the coming days.

The Senate bill does some good things: It will provide health insurance
to 30
million more Americans and provide subsidies to low-income
individuals and
families. Benefits will have to meet minimum standards
and insurance companies
will no longer be able to deny coverage based
on pre-existing conditions or
impose lifetime or unreasonable annual

The bill also includes some relief for plans with early retirees as
well as delivery
system reforms that may lead to lower costs over the
long haul. And Senate leaders
have made a commitment to close the
Medicare prescription drugs doughnut hole which is so
costly to seniors.

But because it bends toward the insurance industry, the Senate bill will
check costs in the short term, and its financing asks working people
and the
country to pay the price, even as benefits are cut.

The House bill is the model for genuine health care reform.

Working people
cannot accept anything less than real reform.

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