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Sanders on Why Medicare for All Is Vital for Union Workers: 'They're Losing Wage Increases Because Cost of Healthcare Is Soaring'

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/13/sanders-why-medicare-all-vital-union-workers-theyre-losing-wage-increases-because

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As a former Union negotiator, decades ago, the same process exists: Wage increases, health care and other benefits are parts in a basket. Health care cost was so low, it hardly mattered.

Today, it is the basket. However, it is filled with high co-payments, high deductibles, less coverage, HMO rip offs and the workers finance it with Health Saving Plans. Down in the bottom of the basket, under all the health care, that was mostly paid for by the worker, is ,sometimes, a meager pay increase. The pay increase will not likely pay for the health care load laying on top of it.

Here’s my unsolicited advice to Union workers: If your National Union Officials are not supporting Bernie, fire the SOBs.

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For-profit healthcare — harvest the patient’s money, then harvest their organs. The cycle of life when healthcare is run by MBAs.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

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To begin lowering costs of health care itself, we must end the for-profit health insurance industry monopoly raking-in billions annually, and that means instituting Single-Payer not-for-profit universal health insurance!Actual health-care cost reductions must follow.
"the United States spends double the amount per capita on health care compared with other high-income countries "
"administrative excess currently amounts to $248 billion annually"

ttps://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/reports/2019/04/08/468302/excess-administrative-costs-burden-u-s-health-care-system/

Artificially inflated insurance costs decrease wages for millions and increse employer costs! That is a scam parasitism that must be ended!

The cozy/corrupt relationship between insurance industry, big-pharma, and health-care providers creates obscenely inflated costs, unnecessary tests, and other costs!
Those “very-low” co-pays and other costs are being paid-for by highly inflated insurance policies - policy-holders just don’t notice it as such - it is part of hidden insurance-plan costs. Profits by the insurance industry having zero to do with actual health-care; preventative education, or treatment! .

The actual costs of Single-Payer insurance is being distorted; inflated and defended/supported by industry shills, political campaign-contribution bribes, and paid liars - false claims of scary “trillions” for Single-Payer are fear tactics to sow doubt; in voters! Actual costs for families, unions, employers and individuals will be substantially reduced!.
The insurance industry as well as Big-Pharma are both parasites on the public, but neither add to actual health care for the public - they impede it, profit/feed off it, and corrupt politicians and elected officials, Congress and legislation by their influence!

Those who have been enriched by trump regime tax-cuts and other give=away’s, Wall Street speculation, banker robber barons, and numerous corporations making billions annually, but evading often ALL taxation, must be forced to help fund Universal Single-Payer Health Insurance! Only then will for-profit health-care industry be reined-in to end $25 aspirins, $50 band-aids, and $2500+ per night hospital beds. those obscene criminal costs are hidden in the corrupt insurance industry coverage scam that enriches a few and robs from the many!

ttps://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2019/08/04/as-sanders-and-warren-attack-private-health-insurer-profits-soar/#ae8f8aa532b1

ttps://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/05/08/the-great-american-hospital-pricing-scam-exposed-we-now-know-why-healthcare-costs-are-so-artificially-high/#2e6c30ff3bff

BERNIE SANDERS works for the public, NOT obscene profits for a few like some other candidates! That’s “his (principled) way” not “the highway” BS!

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Divide& conquer 101

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There is not a major Union in the USA that wouldn’t exchange their current healthcare plans for a national single payer model. On day one, they would be able to go to management and say “let’s talk about wages, hours and conditions again, instead of trying to keep our current healthcare plan”.
Bottom line, single payer would not only provide all the people the healthcare they deserve as citizens, but it would be the single most important piece of workers rights legislation ever enacted in the USA. And that second reason is why corporate America will fight tooth and nail against the implementation of anything even resembling a single payer healthcare system.
Bernie Sanders biggest fight still lies ahead. The first step has already been taken, as the populace, even Republican voters, support it. He must now face the reality that the Democratic Party apparatus and their big money donor class DO NOT WANT IT. We must make them want it. Torches and pitchforks are optional, for now.

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Surprised how nobody has mentioned that the person who issued the statement on behalf of the Culinary Union is also a board member of the Center for American Progress. The same group headed by Hillary shill Neera Tanden.

Who wants to put money down in the form of donations to Bernie that she’s behind this.

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Humans manage to corrupt everything, and labor unions are no exception. In fact, some of the worst corruption in America has been in labor unions.
When I see a Nevada labor union opposing Bernie Sanders, I see corruption.
I also see selfishness. That particular union claims that Medicare for All would provide coverage inferior to what it negotiated in its contract. I doubt that.
But even if it’s true, it shows you the utter “me-first” selfishness of some people. They’d rather be among the few to have what they falsely believe is fantastic health insurance than to help install fantastic health insurance for all Americans. They’re likely paid off by the private health insurance industry to be against Bernie.
And this particular Nevada union opposing Sanders has long been in bed with the Democratic establishment, and refused to endorse Sanders in 2016.

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The problem is worse because sometimes the union foreman and leaders are in bed with management. I lived in Europe for 10 years in a country where the unions are much more powerful that in the US, but the union bosses are also sort of part of the government. Capitalism can poison nearly any human enterprise while extracting and concentrating wealth.

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It must be pointed out how private, employer-based health insurance contributes to ageism in the workforce. When I worked in Europe, I saw a far more diverse and, most importantly, older workforce and I am an IT professional. As an older computer programmer (over 40 years experience) I really felt that my knowledge and experience were appreciated and valued. In the United States, many companies especially small tech startups, are loathe to hire older workers whose very presence in the organization drives up health insurance costs.

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It’s truly amazing to me just how many workers don’t realize how much they are paying for their insurance, or just how substandard it has become compared to a generation or two ago. They fail to grasp that most major corporations drew a (financial) line about ten years ago. They basically said they would pay this much for a workers healthcare, and no more. Most of the time it’s now a half and half proposition, where your employer picks up half the cost, and the rest is on you. And now many will tell you that, if you want to add dependents to your plan, you pay 100% of that cost. Mix this with the fact that almost half the companies in the USA don’t even offer affordable healthcare plans to their employees, even white collar workers, and you see what we have today. A system where yes, most are still insured, but no, most can not afford the co-pays, deductibles, or minimums built in to the system, so they don’t use it, or go without (making even more money for the insurance company) Considering the average individual deduction in the USA is almost $2800, and when counting your copays and your payroll s number often exceeds 8-10 thousand per year. For a nation where the average household makes only about 44 thousand dollars a year (yes, the reported average is about 60, but when you subtract the 30% of wages that the top 1% make, that average falls precipitously) it’s simply unaffordable. It’s why a simple injury, or worse, a case of cancer, can bankrupt an American family.
The employer based healthcare model was doomed from the start.

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I smell Sheldon Adelson in all this.

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Excellent points David Carson!

Yes, this is the epitome of selfishness/narrow mindedness.

Apparently these people can’t think beyond their little individual health care bubble and don’t care to call out the destructiveness and greed of the health care industry in the u.s. that is creating tremendous hardship and killing people.

In 2018:

publicly traded health care companies amassed $47 billion of global profit on $545 billion of global revenue in the second quarter, according to company documents.That profit is higher than the $45.6 billion that 118 health care companies posted in the first quarter of this year, and it’s higher than anything recorded in the past year.

Pharmaceutical companies continue to rake in the highest profit margins.

What this union is doing disgusts me.

The healthcare (it’s hard to write that word given how sick it is) industry in this country is holding people hostage, it’s extortion.

People are suffering and dying because of this pathological healthcare system. Period.

This union is choosing to be complicit with the greed and corruption of the insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

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Thank you for pointing this out! Excellent point.
So true.

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Would a guillotine be out of line?

These days most American workers that are over 55 are constantly looking over their shoulders, as they know that they have hit the magical number where they begin costing the company more in healthcare and retirement costs than any other worker. It’s the single biggest reason that most people in the USA take their social security benefits at the earliest possible time, 62.
It’s why my wife and I (we are both 56) are dumping as much into our retirement accounts as possible, as we are literally planning to retire at 62 because we know that our employers sometime in the next six or seven years will make every effort to dump us for younger workers that will make half what we do, and cost considerably less to insure (if they insure them at all). If by some miracle we can make it to 65 we should be able to retire pretty comfortably. But like most American workers, we doubt that choice will be ours.

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There should be a guillotine outside the offices of every major corporation, as well as the Capitol building and White House. I think we would be amazed as to how quickly attitudes would change.
I would like to think that sitting around singing cumbaya would cause the ruling class to change their minds and their motives. However, this is the 21st century, and they seem to following the Jay Gould model. This problem cannot be solved by popular dissidence if half the people will still kill the other half for a paycheck or an x ray.
I hope this ends well, but I’m beginning to think it can’t.

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The Culinary union reminds me of the education union I once belonged to. It supported the likes of Barack Obama even though he pushed for charter schools and for high-stakes testing. Always felt decisions were made by union officials who had access to power in Washington and at the state capitol. Ordinary teachers, if informed about policy and asked to decide upon endorsements, might have opted to support none of the candidates running, but that choice was never offered.

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OMG. Was it Chavez or Ghadaffi who went to the UN podium after Bush and said he smelled a sulphur aroma? That comment deserved an Oscar.

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And make a donation tout suite today to the Sanders Campaign!!

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