Richard Trumka

Richard Trumka

The AFL-CIO issued a statement on LieberCare, and the labor federation isn’t happy.  President Richard Trumka says the current bill is “inadequate,” is funded “the wrong way,” and stops short of outright opposing the whole package for now.

But because it bends toward the insurance industry, the Senate bill will not 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.

As Greg Sargent notes, the last sentence is very carefully worded.  It makes it clear the Senate bill isn’t “real reform,” implies that the AFL-CIO can’t accept a halfway-there reform bill, but stops short of defining what that is.

Like SEIU’s Stern, the AFL-CIO’s Trumka calls for LieberCare’s Chevy tax and lack of employer mandate to be fixed.  But while Stern’s third problem with the bill was expensive costs for individuals, Trumka gets to the heart of the matter and calls for a public option.

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.

Note: while Trumka says the AFL is “championing” a public option as “the way” to crack the insurance industry, he doesn’t use the imperative as he does with the employer mandate and Chevy tax, which “must” and “cannot,” respectively, be a part of reform.